If you are working at making a career from something like blogging or a small home-run business, there is a lot to consider with regard to juggling your home life and building up a business to the point where it can be a truly competitive entity. But there’s also so many other aspects of running a business that take you way beyond your comfort zone.
A very good example is networking, and it can be intimidating for those people who want to establish a business but feel limited by their capabilities. We all have the potential to learn how to do things if we are determined enough, and something like networking is so important.
But while networking matters because it brings about business opportunities, it’s also an amazing way to expand your personal growth by refining your communication skills, learning from others, and gaining a broader perspective. So let’s show you some tactics for the shy and intimidated:
Look at What You Want to Present
We have to remember the rule that a lot of our success in how we present ourselves is not entirely attributed to the things we say but more how we say it and how we look when we say it. Communication is a broad spectrum, and learning how to present yourself is so critical when you are looking to establish rapport with people.
Look at the things that you believe make you appear intimidated. Is your body language defensive, for example, are you crossing your arms when you talk? Do you use negative words or phrases in your everyday speech? Once we understand the things we want to present, we then have to learn how to unlearn these things. The best way to do it is to look at those people who effortlessly build bonds with others and analyse how they are so effective.
What we have to remember is that when we’re running a business, it’s all about how we present ourselves, including our brand and our iconography. When we incorporate who we are into this, it gives us greater motivation to do right by our business, and this also boils down to the little things like business cards and follow-up emails.
Having a business card printing company bookmarked on your phone can create a business card that is inherently you and puts across your personality as a fine art, but it will also serve as a reminder that, when you are attempting to benefit your business, networking is such an important part of it. When you figure out what you need to present yourself appropriately, you will naturally step up to the plate.
We can be jealous of those people who build rapport instantly, but we can guarantee that they may have been able to do this naturally, but they certainly learned how to refine their skills. Even if you’re not naturally able to get what you want out of people or build those all-important relationships, having an analytical mindset and understanding how to smooth the edges of your communication is one thing, but you still need to practise how to do these things.
When something doesn’t come naturally to us, which is pretty much 99% of everything in life, we rehearse. The problem is lots of people don’t like the idea of rehearsing because it requires work, but if you are looking to build a relationship with someone and communicate appropriately, you need to rehearse it to the point where it becomes automatic.
There are so many different facets of great communication, such as open body language, as well as active listening. If you are someone who is a strung-out parent and trying to run a business, that feeling of exhaustion can creep into every single conversation you have with someone, which is why, away from the networking arena, you learn how to practise active listening. Everything needs to get to the point where it becomes a habit. The only way to do this is to practise.
A habit can take anywhere between 18 days to 254 days to form, and if you are in the embryonic stages of your business dealings, there are certainly plenty of things you are trying to prepare, but this is also just as important as those financial and service-based components. If we fail to prepare, we prepare to fail.
It Is a Gradual Process
Building confidence is essential for creating genuine connections, and when we are lacking in confidence for whatever reason, whether it’s a particular hang-up or something that we’re not particularly skilled at, we need to remember that boosting confidence is not just one component, but many that can take a long time to gel and become a part of who you are on a neurological level.
Celebrating the small wins can help to build a positive mindset, but you can also benefit from other simple components. For example, learning to be yourself. If there’s one thing that many people hate about networking, it’s that they feel they’ve got to be fake in whatever way. But networking is about communication, and communication is about connecting, and therefore, being yourself and authentic. This will generate sincerity and attract genuine connections.
What’s more, it’s far more comfortable to be authentic rather than to put on a facade. We should also invest in the long term and challenge ourselves in small manageable steps by using the SMART acronym: specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. When in doubt, stick to this acronym, and this will give you a far better framework in which to progress. Many people can set lofty ambitions, but if you are taking small steps in the right direction and reframing your mindset, you can be an excellent communicator.
Some people believe that they are too shy to be an amazing communicator. We all need to remember that from time to time, skills can be learned, no matter how late in the game we are. If you consider yourself a shy small business owner and view networking with a sense of dread, there is always an opportunity to expand and develop, and your business will benefit as a result.
Hopefully you’ve found some new ways to network and can take them away and grow your business.
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