Situations like this create a lot of pressure, stress and anxiety, and suddenly that huge, ugly, one-eyed monster we often see in networking and business called ‘Self-Doubt’ comes barging in. Self-Doubt doesn’t care about your hair, your outfit or your elevator speech. He is looking for a breach in your confidence as you start hearing yourself say…
“What if my competitor has already found the people in this room that haven’t heard about my business, or even worse, the people who have heard and wanted to purchase a product from them instead of me?”
“What if they are offering a promo/discount/first born that I didn’t think about?”
“Are they nice? Are they smack talking other reps? I don’t want to have to slash any more tires on my way out!”
As a networking facilitator and a small business/marketing coach, my biggest piece of advice is for you to march up to Self-Doubt and poke him in the one good eye he has. Make him go away. You have every right to be in that room networking and to work it as well (if not better) than anyone else.
When It Comes To Working The Room
Be Yourself: People connect with you first and then the product. There could be five business competitors in the room but that doesn’t matter. I have never seen a house being purchased, a major financial deal initiated and then secured or a chiropractic treatment done right there at a first encounter. This is the time for you to say ‘hello’ to another person so you can gather business cards so you can email back and forth so you can confirm a coffee date so you can potentially talk about business so that you can set up another meeting so you can go through it in more detail. Phew– do you see just how long that last sentences is? Even if your ‘competitor’ spoke to someone before you, there are a great number of steps that need to successfully happen before a business transaction occurs.
Pay Attention: It’s hard to connect when you are not focussed on the person you are talking too. Don’t let shiny objects interrupt your conversation.
Ditch Your Friends: You’re here to meet new people. Plan to go out with your friends after the event – you can discuss who you met and if there is someone you can connect them too.