Photography credit: Cristina Rossi
Those dreaded words. Networking event.
It used to make my legs go weak and my mouth dry. As a new business owner, it seemed like there was nothing worse than walking into a room full of stangers, pushing my way into a closed circle of suits that all knew each other and making my cheery introductions!
If you're an entrepreneur you already know you need to network - whether it's a social event, a speaking engagement or going live on your Facebook page - it's one of the easiest ways to become more visible and reach those ideal clients! Five years later and I'm a pro. I've learned a few tricks along the way so that when I walk in to any room or any social media live situation, I do it with gusto, strangers or not and you can too! Here are my top 10 tips to gain that confidence in any situation:
1. Fake it until you make it - you might feel like you're going to throw up but think like an actress who is playing a part and go for it. Faking confidence actually makes you feel more confident and the more you do something, the less scary it seems. It also has the added benefit of meaning you'll get the job done!
2. Back straight - sort out your posture. You immediately feel more confident when you walk upright and with purpose as you trick your brain into thinking you aren't nervous at all so stop the slouching and the fidgeting before you start!
3. Wear something that makes you feel great - fabulous underwear or a spritz of your favourite perfume or aftershave goes a long way, as does how you dress. If you have clothes on that you know make you look great, you'll feel better about being on show. Shallow but true so look sharp.
4. Ignore your inner voice - we all have this internal voice that tells us how rubbish we are. You can hear the negative monologue throughout the day, but you can stop it in it's tracks! Every time you feel yourself thinking that you aren't good enough, don't look great, can't do something; make a conscious choice to nip that voice in the bud. One way of doing this is to practice daily affirmations (positive sentences that you literally read out loud to yourself) so that as soon as you hear the bad thought, you automatically replace it with the positive thought. That negative monologue is just a habit and all habits can be broken.
5. Do your homework - the unknown will usually make us wary so to become more confident about what you're walking into, be prepared. If it's a networking event making you nervous, find out who is going to be there, what they do and anything else about the event that will give you knowledge. If it's a Facebook live session you can't bring yourself to do, work out exactly what could go wrong and what you will do if those scenarios happen. At a speaking event, make sure you know your stuff so that you can feel completely confident with what you're talking about and prep for any questions that might be thrown your way. Suddenly armed with knowledge, it's not so scary after all.
6. Speak slowly - it might sound odd but it makes you sound so much more confident when you talk slowly. When you speak fast, you can end up sonding breathless and nervous, so just by slowing down your words, it will make you feel calmer and more in control. Simple eh?
7. Look at the big picture - focus on why you are there. What's driving you to go to the event or do the presentation? What's your big picture. Once you know what your purpose is (get more clients, become known, grow the business), keep that in the forefront of your mind and let it bring you confidence. You've come this far to get to that goal so why would you give up now?
8. Walk faster - you can see how someone feels by their walk. Have a look around at people you think are confident and successful. They are walking fast and with purpose. If you do this too, you'll feel more successful and it will show!
9. Stop comparing yourself to others. It is the one thing guaranteed to bring your self esteem down, no matter how successful you are. Understand your uniqueness and what qualities you bring so that you aren't tempted to see others as doing better than you. See every person as a peer, not a competitor and you'll stop sabotaging your own confidence as a result.
10. It's not all about you - harsh but true. If you focus more on what you're bringing to the party, you'll think less about yourself and what people think of you. Ask yourself how you can serve others at the event? If doing a facebook live, how will your message help your viewers. Think about what you're bringing to other people and it will become less about your own flaws, increasing your self confidence in the meantime.
For more confidence boosting tips go to www.justownthis.com