Networking in Business
Business Networking - Words of Wisdom
Tina Lamb is an Impact Factory Senior Training Consultant, who has been with us for nearly a decade now. Tina is our Head of Open Courses and runs our Business Networking, Personal Impact, Assertiveness, Facilitation and Conflict Management courses. She has an infectious and enthusiastic training style much revered by her clients.
Business Networking: 'The Man with Albino Pig Under his Arm' by Tina Lamb
If you were to walk into a busy room of Networkers at a Business Event, and there was a man standing there on his own with a small albino pig under his arm, most of us would be able to make contact with him, maybe ask him a question or at least comment on his pig. Why is it then, that many people say to me that they find it hard to approach someone standing on there own at an event and engage them in conversation.
It's not about the pig. The difference is what we call "head stuff", the stuff you think but don't say. Usually, if you are uncomfortable in a networking situation, you will have head stuff along the lines of
"What am I going to say?"
"What if I make a fool of myself?"
"What if they don't want to talk to me?"
"What if I get stuck with them?"
or something along those lines.
These thoughts can sometimes become so overwhelming they can limit our behaviour and stop us being our normal selves.
Now, all these same scenarios could happen with the man with the pig, but we're not focussed on that. We're not thinking about ourselves we're instead thinking about the pig. Our minds are occupied with something else, our thoughts will be along the lines of:
"What's that man doing with a pig?", "Where did he get it?", "Why has he brought it?", "What's its name?", or just "ahhh, it's got pink eyes". None of these thoughts would interfere with us being ourselves or inhibit our ability to approach people and engage in conversation.
So my advice is not to look for people carrying mammals to approach at a Networking event, my advice is to get out of your head stuff. Worry less about yourself and put your attention on the other person. Wonder what would get them talking, what would put them at ease. Head stuff rarely helps, the more you put your attention on other people the less you will be gripped by unhelpful thoughts and you can network smoothly and effortlessly.
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