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Networking Refresher–Wrap-up

Thursday, September 13, 2007

See also Dos and Don’ts of Networking

Since I posted a long list of dos and don’ts last time I did this series, I won’t reiterate that here. But I did want to draw this review to a conclusion.

The most important part of any networking, whether social or professional, is to just be comfortable with yourself. For those of us who have naturally low self-esteem, this is difficult. And it goes against everything we’ve all been taught to say, but you have to think about the fact that there is only one YOU. By not networking—by not building relationships with others, you are denying others the opportunity and blessing to know YOU. You’re denying them of the unique qualities you have to offer. If you find you’re having a hard time believing you have anything to offer others, then you need to step back and start finding things about yourself that you like, things you’re good at. Make a list. Start with five positive things about you that are unique. Then extend it to ten. Twenty. Ask your closest friends and family to help you with this if need be. Start building a positive self-image and through this will come confidence in networking situations.

Networking, especially business networking, is hard work—even when it’s casual and enjoyable. The reason it’s hard is that we feel like we have to be “on” the entire time, we have to monitor what we say, have to pay close attention to what the person (potential editor or agent or whoever it may be) is saying to us. So be sure to do whatever you do to center yourself, to calm yourself down before you enter that situation (if you have time to prepare for it). Pray, meditate, do yoga or tai chi or breathing exercises or whatever calms you down.

If you’re just not ready, don’t force yourself to try it. Practice all of the techniques I covered in this and the original series with friends and acquaintances, but don’t force yourself into a networking situation if you’re afraid you’re going to fall apart. You won’t make a good impression on the person you’re trying to network with, and it’ll just make it harder for you to try it next time. But don’t put it off forever or you’ll never learn how to do it.

2 Comments
  1. Thursday, September 13, 2007 4:07 pm

    I love lists-but not this kind! Ahh. Five things seems like a lot, but I do know I have a quirky sense of humor that some find enjoyable–and probably annoys an equal number of people. Anyway, that’s a good one to think on. Thanks for the encouragement this week, Kaye!

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  2. Friday, September 14, 2007 7:57 am

    “So be sure to do whatever you do to center yourself, to calm yourself down before you enter that situation”

    You’re so right, Kaye. I actually like social environments, but I get overwhelmed with all the chatting and smiling and being “on” as you said, so I found that if I went back to my room, even if it was only for 10 minutes, I did so much better. I’d go, sit down and relax, take a few deep breaths, think about the next session or dinner or whatever, and I was refreshed. Well, a little refreshed. LOL.

    The worst part for me was when the editor or agent at the table would go around and ask questions of all of us. I’d get tongue tied and say the most ridiculous things. LOL. I’m going to try not to let that happen this time. 😉 If you see me with my foot in my mouth, feel free to intervene.

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