STOP before you press the handle on the door to NETWORKING and try THIS!
NETWORKING - For many just the thought of is sickening. It resurfaces the feeling of going into a party we are not invited to. It may make us feel stuck and speechless. We may even act differently and lose our authenticity.
At our Women's Business Club, Tribe Night event, The Networking Queen Fiona Drake talked us through a few practical and easy steps which can get us from feeling nervous and intimidated in networking events to a place of calmness, intention and meaningful conversations. We are sharing them with you now!
1. Take a deep breath
This may seem obvious one but we often forget about or underestimate this simple little trick. Here are two ways Fiona suggested to us:
These two breathing exercises will send a signal to your brain that everything is ok and there is no need to panic.
2. Have few affirmations ready to recite to yourself on your way to the venue. E.g.:
3. Strike the Wonder Women pose.
Hands on your hips. Stand grounded and tall. Signal your brain that you have got this!
4. Set your intention.
Ask yourself what you want to get from the event? Is it connections? Confidence? Contacts? Collaborations? Referrals? It can be all of these. How does it make you feel? Calm and excited or nervous and very formal and transactional?
How about setting an intention to learn more about the people and prepare for meaningful conversations. Get curious!
Q: Who do you want to connect with today?
Q: What are your recent wins in your business?
Q: Are you working on any innovations/going through changes right now?
Q: What would be the ideal outcome from this event for you?
5. Make them curious
You can be sure people will ask you what you do, right? That’s given. So instead of dreading the question and worrying what are you going to say, prepare and learn your “I help” statement so you do not give all away but it prompts another question.
I help “x” to get from “y” to “z”. For me it would be: I help engineers in corporate to achieve their work life balance, improve stress resilience, energy levels and confidence. You cannot help but go: “How do you do that?” And here you go, you have a conversation.
If I said: “I am a coach”, quite likely the person would go: “Oh cool!” and would create their own picture of what a coach does. It doesn’t spark curiosity.
6. Be present
By having your “I help” statement sorted before the event you can stop thinking about it and just enjoy the conversation. You can stay present and you can listen tentatively to others. That’s where connections are made. That’s where trust is gained. That’s how people will remember you. The one who listened.
7. Show up as YOU
We are all different and in networking we have a tendency to blend in. Try the opposite. Wear colourful shoes, pink top, funky hairband. Be brave to be noticed.
8. Show that you care.
Keep in mind that as you may be nervous, others may too. They may show it differently or hide it differently. That person standing on they own may appreciate your company.
Amazing hacks, aren’t they? Fiona was super generous in sharing her experience.
Why don’t you try it for our next Tribe Night or Mocha morning?
We always make sure the attendees are well looked after and made to feel welcome. Our events are well organised to remove any confusion and uncertainty. If you are still feeling a bit nervous, please reach out or bring a friend.
The mission of the Women's Business Club is to CONNECT, SUPPORT & EMPOWER female entrepreneurs and executives.
Bringing strategic networking, powerful community, tailored support and exclusive opportunities to big thinkers and business leaders - unleashing potential and changing the course of history.
We are looking forward to seeing you soon. You really have got this!
With love for Body, Mind and Connection
Leader of Macclesfield Women’s Business Club