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Jan 16, 2008

Confidence: The Networking Strategy That Works Every Time

If you want to make people hungry to network with you, then you need to radiate professional-strength confidence right from your first impression. But confidence isn’t always easy to summon up, especially when you’re trying to network with those higher up on the food chain. So you want to make sure you use these 3 tips to banish those butterflies and approach those higher ups with a$$-kicking confidence. Pull up a chair; class is in session.Networking

Tip #1: Remind Yourself That No One Is Out Of Your League

It’s tempting to put successful people on a pedestal and think that they are larger than life – especially when they’re more “established” than you are in your industry. But get this into your head: No one is out of your league. Every one of those people you “just can’t imagine” easily connecting with is a person just like you are. Stuff keeps them up at night sometimes, just like you. They have people who they look up to, just like you. And they have unbelievably sh*tty days, just like you.

Get that fear out of your head and realize that people are people. They’re not magically more special because they were sprinkled with the fairy dust of success. They worked for it. So what if they’re farther up the food chain than you right now.
You’re committed to taking consistent action towards your goals, so you’ll climb the chain yourself.

Bottom Line: Look at people as people, and not as a list of achievements and skill sets. Don’t let yourself become intimidated by how much more they’ve done than you. Talk to them, person to person.

Tip #2: Remind Yourself That You Add Massive Value To The Equation

Focus on what it is about you that is valuable – your skills, your experiences, your connections – and keep that at the forefront of your mind. You’ll choke during the networking process if you’re worried about impressing the other person or having them like you.

Instead, center your mind on what it is about you that the other person will find valuable, useful, and compelling. Even if the other person isn’t sold on you yet, lock the though of them appreciating your value to them in your mind as an inevitability.

When you know – I mean know - that the other person has a lot to gain from connecting with you, that confidence will shine through. They won’t see you hoping to connect with them; they’ll see someone they are drawn to interact with, and that’s what will make them hungry to connect with you.

Bottom Line: Focus on why you’re so irrefutably worth networking with. Without being cocky, remember all the reasons that you kick a$$, and you’ll act with the compelling confidence you need to succeed.

Tip #3: Remember That There’s No Losing Situation

Don’t let a fear of failure hold you back from networking with someone who might intimidate you (even if it’s just by a little bit). If you’re well versed in the art of networking, it’s likely you’ll make a strong connection. But even if you don’t seem to connect well, it’s not the end of the world. Sometimes it just takes time.

While your end goal is to create a strong connection where value flows both ways, in reality today’s step may be just to plant a seed. If your target connection seems less interested than you had hoped, take heart in the knowledge that you’ve at least made an impression. You can always learn more about your contact’s needs so that future impressions are more likely to result in the “click” that you’re looking for.

Bottom Line: Looking at connecting as a now-or-never proposition does not serve you and saps your confidence. Focus on planting seeds and you’ll be less stressed, more confident, and more likely to get the long-term results that you’re looking for.

Bonus Tip #4, 5, 6 … You Fill In The Blank

These three tips can help you create the kind of confidence that lets you connect with people more quickly, easily, and frequently. But let’s not stop here: why don’t you share your experience right now in the form of a comment describing your top networking confidence tips? You’ll help others, and you’ll learn from the other comments on this post. Go ahead and leave a comment now, and then sign up for email updates (or the RSS feed) so you get all the articles in this better networking series.

You know what to do, :-)

Dave

11 Responses to “Confidence: The Networking Strategy That Works Every Time”

  • Jan 18, 2008 Christine O'Kelly

    Dave, this is such an important post. Networking can open major doors in our world – yet I don’t think most of the population is very good at this AT ALL. Most of us will stick within our comfort zones – even though in the back of minds we know that it is severely limiting us.

    One thought to add is to imagine that you’ve already achieved the level of success as the people that intimidate you.

    Excellent post ~

  • Jan 18, 2008 Dave Navarro

    Excellent addition, Christine! Thanks. There’s really no reason to be intimidated by anyone.

  • Jan 19, 2008 Sonia Simone

    This post is so smart. I’ve spent way too much time wringing my hands in a corner, then later finding out that someone was intimidated by *me*. Good stuff.

  • Jan 19, 2008 Dave Navarro

    Thanks, Sonia! I appreciate the kind words.

    When you realize that there *are* people who are intimidated by “little old you” no matter what level you’re at, it helps you realize how goofy it is to see yourself as small. :-)

  • Jan 21, 2008 James Chartrand - Web Content Writer Tips

    @ Sonia – That reminds me so much of me telling my daughter that it’s okay, the little mouse in the grass is terrified of her – while she’s shaking in her boots the wee thing is going to jump up and eat her alive.

    But you know what? Someone had to tell her. She couldn’t figure it out on her own because she was too worried. It took someone else to say, “It’s alright.”

  • Jan 21, 2008 Dave Navarro

    James -

    I did the same thing to my kid when he went on stage the first time. He was worried he’d mess up lines in front of people and I told him that most people would be preoccupied looking on stage thinking, “I don’t have the guts to do that!”

  • Jan 21, 2008 James Chartrand - Web Content Writer Tips

    @ Dave – There’s an example – afraid to mess up lines in front of others.

    I was at a show once lining up for a jumping competition. The show was poorly organized and whoever got to the gates first was next to go.

    Well, no one was going.

    Except me, of course. I turned my head to a girl who looked terrified, and I said, “Go after me! That way, everyone else has to measure up to you, not the other way around!” And then I was off, wrecking a course on horseback.

    I saw the girl after and she was flushed and happy. She ran up and said, “I did it! I did what you said and look!” 3rd place out of 32 competitors.

    But all it took was the switch of mindset. And a prod ;)

  • Sep 7, 2008 Gina

    Aloha again Dave!

    I started an amazing exercise to build confidence.I take a piece of paper and write where I was 1,2,5, and 10 years ago. Yes I actually look backwards rsther than forward to feel my value.

    It is a reality that when we look only to the goal it can seem like we are not going anywhere…always more to do more to learn more, more, more. Yet when we look at where we are today and where we have been it can be a real eye opener.

    Consider looking out to sea and trying to paddle to the horizon…alway more paddling to do, more and more. Yet looking back where you started on the shore you can clearly see just how much progress you have made.

    Try it, take a peek back where you have come from and you will be pleasantly surprised and very confident.

    Much Aloha~ Gina
    PS Mahalo Dave for all you do to keep people like me going :)

  • Sep 9, 2008 Dave Navarro

    @Gina –
    Glad to be of service :-)

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