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.
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,