How do you feel about networking events? If you know that meeting people in person is a fabulous way to market your business, and you love meeting new people BUT that initial feeling when you first walk into a room of strangers makes you want to throw up. . . this post is for you, sister!
Stepping out of your comfort zone to walk up to somebody you don’t know, introduce yourself and play the whole small talk game, isn’t an easy thing to do. If you’re like most people (including me) you overthink what you’re going to say. You start trying too hard to make a good impression, say something smart, witty, or impressive.
When you put all that pressure on yourself, you end up getting anxious and nervous, and it only makes things worse.
Instead, you want to have the laid-back vibe of a confident woman when you engage with the people you meet.
You want these networking events to feel as comfortable as if you were hanging out on your back patio drinking margaritas with your three best girlfriends.
How do you do that? How do you give yourself permission to enjoy these events, relax and be comfortable? Here are my best tips:
Get Your vibe Right
Don’t walk into a networking event or a conference in a bad mood. Low vibes attract negative people and repel the positive, collaborative people you’re trying to attract. So whatever happens to be going on in your life to trigger you, check that sh*t at the door and get your happy on before you walk in. How? Try this: Before you walk in and you start introducing yourself to people do a couple of minutes of deep breathing exercises to bring yourself back to a calm, centered state. You might even try a few affirmations or braffirmations to raise your vibe before you go inside and start mingling.
I am a networking goddess
People love me
I love meeting new people
I’m a magnet for positive people
Have a plan
You could go inside with the intention of gaining new clients, but that selfish angle sends of a sort of used-car-salesman type of energy. Instead, what if you went in with the intention of being of service? What if you had a goal of connecting with at least 3 people you would support? Either by connecting them with someone you know who can help them reach a goal, or inviting them to another networking event, or sending them information that might help them in some way.
Not only does this totally change your energy, but it also will get you out of your own head and stop you from worrying about impressing people. Instead, of your focus being on yourself, it will be on the people around you and how you can be helpful, which is way easier and more comfortable!
Maintain Your Energy
This is especially true if you’re more of an introvert. Meeting new people can take a toll on your energy levels. It can literally zap you of all you’ve got! So on days where you know you’re going to a social event, try to fill up on healthy foods and drink lots and lots of water!
If you’re part of my tribe, you’re probably an empath, which means, you’re sensitive to the energy around you. For example, if you sense that someone near you is feeling a little shy, or out of place, you’re going to be the one who walks over and starts a conversation with them so to make them feel more comfortable. This is nice of you, of course, but it also takes up some energy!
Your energy is what keeps you going and it works like a gas tank in a car. We might start the day on full. Throughout the day we use some of that fuel to keep our own selves going. But if we sense others who need an energy boost, we sometimes give them some of our energy (like when we start a conversation with someone who’s feeling out of place). If you’re someone who tends to give a lot of your energy away, you need to be extra cautious of how much you’re giving away, and how you’re replenishing that energy.
I’m not telling you not to give it away and be amazing, do it. I’m the same way. But what I found that works is to take breaks. As often as I need to. And I suggest you do, too!
Leave the room for 10 minutes. Sit in the bathroom and do a little EFT work, or go outside and get some fresh air. Just breathe and allow yourself some time to replenish.
Make a No-Judgement Rule
Even though we try not to judge people, we can’t always help the way our brain is wired. Sometimes you can’t help but meet somebody, and think, based on the unconscious clues you’re picking up, that you don’t have anything in common and you can’t help each other. I encourage you to try not to do that. Give people a chance. You might be surprised at what happens!
Don’t Fake It
We all have a built-in BS meter. And we can sense fakeness from a mile away, right? Don’t be fake and phony, doesn’t matter whether you fit into the crowd you’re at or not. Authenticity is always rewarded. People love authentic people, you might not be exactly the same as everybody but that’s okay. It’s your uniqueness that makes you amazing and valuable. Be willing to let people see the “real you” and give them a chance to fall in love with what you’re about.
There’s nothing worse than wearing uncomfortable clothes or shoes because they look cute and then having to walk around miserable (or with blisters). People will be able to see the misery on your face and they won’t know it’s the shoes, instead, they’ll just think you’re a crab ass. It’s better to be comfortable and happy than cute and bitchy looking!
Be aware of your facial expressions
A smile says a lot! But most importantly, it says that you’re friendly and approachable. It tells other people in the room that you’re easy to talk to and invites them over. If someone near you is feeling slightly uncomfortable or a little bit nervous and wants to talk to somebody, seeing your warm friendly smile will give them the courage to step out of their own comfort zone, come over and say hello. And since smiling is easier than starting a conversation out of thin air, this is one I use all the time and it works like a charm!
Make eye contact
When you do start to talk to somebody, make eye contact with them. Show them that you’re paying attention that you’re interested in what they’re saying. When people think you’re interested in them, they become interested in you. Show them that you are genuinely interested in who they are, what they’re doing, what they have to offer, what their goals are for being at that event, what their goals are for the year, etc. Ask them questions like: What is the perfect day for you? What is your family like? Are they excited about what you’re doing in your business? What are you what is like three years from now look like for you? Who are you looking to collaborate with? How can I support you? The more you find out about them, the more likely you’ll be able to help them. . . and when you’re helpful, they’ll want to return the favor by helping you out in some way.
Offer a compliment
If you’re completely clueless as to what to say to break the ice and start a conversation, give someone a compliment. You could say something as simple as, “Wow, I have been trying to get my hair to curl like that forever. And I just can’t do it. How do you get your hair to do that?” Or “Those are the cutest boots! Where did you get them?” A simple compliment opens the door to conversation, helps you find something you both have in common to talk about, and builds instant rapport.
For more examples and listen to the podcast episode below on how to rock your next networking event.
I hope these tips were helpful and I wish you lots of luck and success at your next networking event!
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If you’d like to learn more about how to use the power of networking to attract premium clients who are eager to invest between $1,500 and $10,000 to work with you, check out my private and group coaching programs or reach out to me at email@example.com to get started.
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