Fear plays a very important part in our lives. It protects us; it keeps us safe. Had our ancestors not been afraid of that sabre tooth tiger we might not be here! But we are. Not only are we here, we are alive and kicking and living and doing business in the 21st century.
However the way we do business has changed from bygone years! Now we have as an example Social Media, PR, Marketing, Advertising, ++++++
But one of the latest and must participate inmethods, and, for some, one of the most terrifying is NETWORKING or “MINGLEPHOBIA”.
Some people thoroughly enjoy these events. Others would rather walk on fire than face a room filled with strangers.
So are you one of the millions of people who suffer from this Stranger Danger ‘affliction’?
If you think you are then let me ask you a couple of questions – when you hear that word
NETWORKING do you come out in a cold sweat?
Does your heart beat faster?
Do you get sweaty palms?
Do your words come out all wrong?
Do you get what I call Brain Freeze?
Do you stop in your tracks when you enter that room?
If you answer “Yes” to any or all of the aforementioned then your Fight or Flight stress response has kicked in and you are suffering from Networking Stress/Fear and in this instance it is hindering not helping you. It’s keeping you from moving forward to your goal, which is to get new business; that’s why you are there.
It may be of some comfort for you to know that most people hate standing in front of others and speaking. For some it’s a natural reaction.
You feel ‘naked’ and that you’re a being judged negatively. You may be surprised to know that I’ve treated (successfully) many a CEO for the Fear Public Speaking.
Now I could give you a list of lots of things to do to help you through this fear. Such as for example, practical stuff like doing your homework on the people who are going; telling you not to just stay chatting to the people you know; don’t drink too much alcohol; and so on.
No I’m not going to give you those “useful tip” cos you can google them – they are all there. I want to tell you here how to bring down your Stress Response before you even get to the event; how to become Calm and take back Control, with a couple of quick and easy exercise.
Once you’re back in control everything else will follow.
Believe it or not, easiest and most effective technique is based on the simple notion of proper breathing. If your breathing is slow and controlled, you will immediately reduce your blind panic, anxious feelings, thoughts etc.
Here is one of my favourite nice simple little exercises that I call The Balloon Exercise. So here we go:
Sit down and close your eyes;
Place one hand on your tummy and the other on your chest;
You’ll notice when you breathe in your chest inflates and when you breathe out it deflates.
Well, now take a normal sized slow breath in (using your diaphragm) and imagine a balloon, that happens to be in your favourite colour, in front of you, so when you take a slow controlled breathe in you can see the balloon inflate and as you breathe out slowly see it deflate.
Do this for about 3 minutes and when you’ve finished, in your own time open your eyes.
Notice how much calmer you feel.
Practice this exercise a couple of times a day.
You’ll soon notice how much calmer you feel when you think about that Networking Event.
On the day of the event do it beforehand.
When you walk into the event, don’t rush in and get what I call “caught up on the whoosh”
Stand your ground firmly, feel your feet on the floor, look straight ahead and focus your eyes on an object, any object, and then focus on your breathe coming and going slowly. When you feel you’re OK walk into that room and start networking.
Once you know and accept your fear/stress you can deal with it and the sun will shine through and you’ll glow.