I wish I had a dollar for every time I heard a woman say that to me. It’s usually followed by, “How did you get so good at it?” Well ladies (& men), practice makes for perfect networking and so does having the right mindset. I absolutely love meeting new people, probably because I have a very curious nature. In my childhood that was known as being a sticky beak. How handy! I’m also gifted with an extroverted personality which means I thrive on the energy of people around me. I haven’t always felt like that though. I too, used to dread the thought at going to an event alone, starting conversations with complete strangers and wandering around aimlessly like a kid on her first day at a new school.
My mindset changed when I changed roles over ten years ago
It became important for me to represent my employer, our services and my personal brand effectively. I took it upon myself to get inside my own head, work out what was going on and, in the words of some kids show that I vaguely remember, turn my frown upside down! Yep, it was mindset change.
For the expert opinion on mindset, I highly recommend Mindset (Dweck)
I read the book this year and it was a fantastic reminder to me to choose my attitude. Every. Single. Day. The book is a bit like a more academic, researched version of “Fish” and “Who Moved My Cheese” both which were very popular early this century. Bottom line is that your mindset is within your control. Simple things like choosing to see a networking event as an opportunity to be curious and learn something about someone you never knew before can be a game changer.
I used to have this trick with my kids when they went to school.
We’d sit down to dinner and instead of asking ‘how was your day‘ or ‘what happened today‘, which would usually elicit a monosyllabic response, I’d ask, ‘what’s one thing you learned today that you didn’t know yesterday?‘ Worked a treat! We soon started to see a bit of healthy competition between brother and sister about whocould provide the most colourful, interesting update for the day. (I traveled a lot too, so it was a great strategy for the nightly telephone call.) It’s the same with networking. Imagine you have to give a debrief to those that matter most to you when you get home. What will you tell them when they ask ‘how was it?‘ Wouldn’t it be better for you if you were able to say….’well I met this fascinating person who…‘ rather than, ‘oh god I hate these things and wish I didn’t have to go to them!’ After all, your investment of time (away from your significant other) and money should be a good investment, with a positive return, for you, your career and your life. Getting to the event and in the front door is only the first step.
Read: Learn to love networking
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Michelle is an astute businesswoman & keen entrepreneur who has founded a business to advise women about how to shatter the glass ceiling & be successful, in whatever way they define success. Founded by a woman, run by women, for women and the organisations that employ women. Michelle is a coach, mentor, consultant, runs events & speaks about her vision to create a gender equal world. Michelle’s business supports, advocates, activates and champions women of all ages and stages.