Networking. Authentic? Or Fake and Pretentious?
Business owners and career minded people understand that building relationships is essential for any product, service or individual growth and being part of something that brings many people to the same place at the same time increases the opportunity and speed in which this can happen. This is where Networking comes in.
Networking is the term referred to when we interact/communicate with other people in order to build relationships that may hopefully lead to business or some form of growth.
The number of networking groups and platforms continue to rise in all parts of the world bringing like-minded people together based on their: purpose, challenges, growth opportunities, hobbies, gender, race… the list goes on. Most days of the year, there is some type of networking opportunity that can be found, with online network platforms such as LinkedIn available 24/7.
The elephant in the room is this: how authentic are these human interactions and relationships or are they simply fake and pretentious?
Fear of judgment and fear of failure are two of the greatest fears we see in people. The level of these fears can be taken to extreme levels when faced with strangers or people we are not completely at ease around. Comparison enters quickly into our mindset with fear of judgement hot on its tail and we find ourselves wanting to look good and appear ‘successful’.
Our subconscious mind wards off these fear emotions by creating a ‘perfect’ world and all of a sudden everyone in the room is a success story that ‘hit 6 figures within 6 months of starting their business’ or better yet, they start directly selling to you. If networking reaches this point, it is doing more harm than good. We start to believe everything we are hearing and question our own ability and why we are not achieving the same results. Self-doubt creeps in and we may even start to feel imposter syndrome.
Our beliefs are what drive our decisions, motivations and achievements and if our beliefs surrounding our ability are in question, it can change our path and the outcome.
On the reverse, there is nothing more powerful than learning from other people and being held accountable by others. Networking provides so many amazing opportunities for growth and relationships. I certainly wouldn’t be where I am today without a strong focus on networking and building relationships. I have met some of the most inspirational people who are now great friends. So how do we achieve the right balance and not get caught up in the side of networking that has a negative impact on our subconscious mind?
Here are 3 tips so that any interaction supports our mind and growth:
There are so many different purposes to interacting with people. Know your purpose each time you do it. I am a part of a small amount of networking groups on a regular basis. One of them I attend for my own personal growth. This is where I focus on learning based on the speakers, content and the attendees. The second group I am part of is my vulnerability group. This is where I can be 100% myself, with no fear of judgement. I am open and speak of my highest of highs but also my lowest of lows. The third one is for inspiration and fun. I get to hang out with other people similar to me and socialise. I am very aware that not everything I hear at these events are honest and there may be some fake or pretentious moments but that’s ok because my purpose is so clear. I am not part of a referral or selling type network. It’s not who I am nor does it align to my business model and that’s ok. Do what works for you with clear purpose and alignment.
People come together to be around other people. Relationships form from trust. If you don’t know what your purpose is in going than you may not come across authentic and therefore trust building is unlikely. Success is not about a job title or monetary figure. Very few people want to hear how much you are making or how successful you are. People want to hear how you are feeling and they want to connect with you on something. Find that connection. Ask more questions than you make statements.
As humans, everything we do is about how it will make us feel. Having a conversation with someone requires a purpose for the listener as well. What are they getting out of having that conversation with you? How will they feel when you both walk away? This doesn’t mean they need to learn from you or buy from you. It doesn’t mean they need to be impressed by your success. It simply means they want to enjoy the conversation.
There is nothing more powerful than a conversation between people. The human to human connection is what we are here to do. Keep your purpose and the listeners purpose to the front of your mind. While the conscious mind is participating in the conversation, the subconscious mind is feeling and creating our next steps based on our emotional drivers formed by our beliefs. Make the conversation worthwhile for yourself and everyone involved.
Be authentically YOU, be human and make it enjoyable, not a fake or pretentious measure of success.