5 tips to be more confident at networking events
Imagine you are walking into a room at a networking event and think “I don’t know anyone here, I will look stupid, everyone will look at me, I don’t know what to say”, “No one finds me interesting”.
You feel anxious and nervous. Your heart beats faster and your hands start sweating.
In order to help you cope with your anxiety and nervousness, you may take out your phone and look at it intensely hoping no one will approach you, or you get a cup of coffee and move into a corner, out of the way, hoping no one will notice you.
The outcome will most likely be that you will not engage fully at the networking event, and you will leave feeling that you were right “No one finds you interesting!”
Now let’s change that inner voice, and in the same situation walking into a networking event, you think instead:
“I don’t know anyone, but I will pick out one other person on their own and go straight over and introduce myself”. You may still feel a bit nervous, after all, it may be the first time you apply this new thought to yourself. However, the more often you practice just this one sentence in your head, the easier it will become to apply.
As you can see, by changing the thought you have while walking into your networking event, your action has changed and therefore your outcome will be different too. In the second example, you will get to know and engage with more people.
Below are some tips on how you can start working to improve your self-confidence. I found from experience they work very well with my clients. The key is to keep practicing them and the more you practice, the more confidence you are going to build.
Tip 1) Before you are going to face a situation where you want to feel more self-confident, work through it in your head, like in the above example, and ask yourself what are you thinking about the event/situation and how can you think about it in a more helpful way.
Tip2) Use positive affirmation. Get some index cards and write a positive statement about yourself on it. For example, “I am a kind and helpful person”, “I am worthy”, “I am a great coworker/boss/friend” and so on. The key is to read them every day. Leave the cards somewhere where you can see them, so you don’t forget.
Tip 3) Practice speaking out loud. Often when someone lacks confidence they speak very softly and therefore may lose an audience when they are speaking, which reconfirms unhelpful thoughts such as “No one is interested to talk to me”. Practice speaking a bit louder in front of a mirror. Again, don’t do it just once, do it daily, over a few weeks.
Tip 4) focus on your strengths rather than your shortcomings. This is again related to how you think. Identify the things that you have achieved and what you are good at. Again, write it down. Often we tend to just look at things we struggle with and think we are no good at.
Tip 5) Write down 3 things every day that you did well, and you are proud of.
Writing things down is important, as it silences your emotional brain which tries to send sabotaging messages and tells you, you are no good. Writing things down and reading them often, engages your logical brain and you can make better decisions based on facts rather than on irrational thoughts and unhelpful beliefs.
Carrying out those steps will require some perseverance on your part. It’s learning new habits and the best way to learn new habits is to take one small step at a time and practice that for a while before you introduce the next step.
Confidence comes with practicing new thoughts about yourself and how you interpret situations. It’s a new skill you are learning, and like any new skill requires repetition and practice. In time it will become automatic and your confidence will increase.
I would like to leave you with this quote from John Eliot (Overachievement):
“Confidence is not a guarantee of success, but a pattern of thinking that will improve your likelihood of success, a tenacious search for ways to make things work.”
If you would like more information or need help with building your confidence, you can contact me at