5 Ways To Avoid Anxiety When Networking
Written by Xiao Mei // Captured by Alissa
Gaining connections plays a major role in your life, both long-term and short-term. It’s essential to improve your skills when making the right decision. I never believed in networking because it felt like I was using someone to benefit me. Though I soon realized that’s not the purpose networking serves. Life is all about give and take, learning how to best benefit everyone in order to receive that same positive energy. Here are my few pointers on how to become better at networking, even if you’re an introvert. (like me)
PLAY NICE, PLAY FAIR and NEVER JUDGE.
It saddens me when I see people judging others based on style. It is true that dressing appropriately shows a great deal of respect when meeting people. However, not everyone is at a class where they can afford all things from Net-a-Porter or high-fashion brands on Hypebae. For this reason I often hate trends because it divides people from meeting genuine souls. For me I developed my own sense of style as a defense mechanism because I was very shy. I wanted people to focus on what I was wearing instead of the life challenges I was going through. But it makes no difference if you’re not willing to play nice with others because you assume they know nothing based on their appearance. A million dollars could be in loose bottoms, a baggy tee and a durag. Never judge!!
MAINTAIN YOUR MORALS
Most events I attend have free drinks and if you’ve followed me for some time, you know I’ll never say no to a glass of wine or sparkling champagne! The downfall is those who don’t drink or party much can feel excluded for that reason. Just know it can be done! (For those who drink, I keep my intake limited. I like to remain professional and converse with others respectfully lol – but it doesn’t happen always) Going to social events force you to be talkative. It’s something I’ve dealt with since I moved downtown in the city. It transitions you to move outside your comfort zone and teaches you how to make conversation with complete strangers. But no one’s forcing you to drink. This is your moment to set the tone and your standards.
USE YOUR TOOLS AS WEAPONS
(On the dating side of things) I am not objectifying women as sex objects, BUT having a good physique (not based on age, race or size – just simply slaying) can be of your benefit. By no means am I promoting that you should shack up with partners you connect on a business level. But I do believe most women know their potential of femininity. Short answers keep minds more intrigued. If you have an elevator pitch, throw it, keep it sweet and simple. See how it goes and build rapport with those who seek interest in you.
At all times if my friend or those I’m partnered in business with need a helping hand, I’m ready to commit. Ready to give a name, an email address or @ someone’s page to share. Gaining connections isn’t best for those with selfish intentions. If you know a dope photographer or a plug who has resources worldwide, suggest them to a relation you value. Be considerate of the person you’re recommending as well. Their time is important so be selective, yet helpful. More than likely you’ll receive great names that will lead to amazing opportunities as well.
LEARN TO TAKE AN “L”
Taking an “L” is taking a loss. I love turning my losses into lessons learned because many relationships will fail you, but that’s a process called life. If nothing last forever neither will your partnerships. Modern day business can be very cut throat, but being sensitive to the culture is more valuable than lingering on to dead ties. Know when to cut off dead weight and wish the best for someone you once built a connection with. All connections have an expiration date, but to serve your community must continue.
You’re nervous, I get it. You have anxiety meeting new people, I get it. But listening is super important. I often notice myself over talking others, which I’ll correct myself on. I either get overly excited meeting new people or won’t say a word until spoken to. I know I can get weird, but listening helps!
I’ve never taken etiquette class hence why I’m not very proper and can get pretty ratchet. But in the last year I’ve thrown myself out there and found a love for meeting new people. I don’t see myself stopping any time soon.
If you catch me at happy hour or stuffing my face with food, please say hi! :) #Let’sBuild