Not everyone is cut out for extemporaneous speaking. And not everyone is cut out for networking, shaking other people’s hands, and spending a fair amount of time talking, looking absorbed by the conversation.
If you’re in business, especially in an industry where you need to reach out and interact, you have no choice but to learn the art. Any entrepreneur would tell you that they’ve spent considerable time talking to people they knew only from a call or a calling card.
Now, the challenge is a lot harder if you’re naturally shy. Your business might have been a promising result of your diligence in science, developing products or programs. Still, you feel more comfortable in front of your PC or inside your laboratory. Your hesitation in dealing with people is understandable. But know that if you want to scale your business, you’ll have to do it. It’s part of the package.
There’s a way for you to sail through these meetups even when you’re shy and come out of the whole experience better than you expected. Below are tried-and-tested techniques.
Dress the Part
It may sound naïve, but dressing the part gives you a much-needed boost. Call it your momentum. When you see yourself looking like the businessman you are, there’s a good chance you will increase your confidence in front of other people. You may not believe it, but what you wear can affect your mood.
A 2012 study done by Prof. Karen Pine of the UK’s University of Hertfordshire revealed that what women wear affects their emotions. When women wear “happy” clothes, such as well-tailored outfits showing style, they also display positive emotion. However, when they wore just their ordinary denim and clothes, they tend to be depressed and down.
The researchers also found that memories can be attached to the clothes worn. So, if someone gets many compliments for wearing a particular set of clothes, wearing them again brings back positive emotions.
Keep Your Hair Neat
Another confidence-booster for you is your hair. For starters, do not go into a meeting place without looking at yourself in the mirror. It’s always best to come with your hair clean and tidy. Going to a salon before a networking event is also a good idea. That way, you invite positive thoughts that can reverberate during the meetup.
Note that nothing invites ridicule and lousy impression more than untidy or unclean hair. Remember that people mingle with people that reflect themselves. So, a tidy person would want to do business with someone who’s also viewed as neat and orderly.
Make sure your hair is always in place when mingling with your customers or business acquaintances. If your hair is long, you may have to tie it at the back so that it won’t distract your eyes. Not being able to look someone directly in the eye can elicit doubt.
By the same token, you should take care of unwanted hair, especially if they’re visible to the person you’re talking to. It can surely cause discomfort. Plus, you won’t gain confidence points worrying about them.
An excellent way to deal with this is by having your hair removed using laser technology. The advantages are plenty. First, you can get it done in time for your appointment. Secondly, it’s precise, so only the hair you want to be removed is taken out of the picture.
Do Your Due Diligence
The great scientist Louis Pasteur, the legendary French biologist researcher who gave us pasteurization and taught us how to get a vaccine, said it best. “Chance favors the prepared mind.”
You would undoubtedly be dumbfounded if you don’t do some research. Learn as much as you can about the person you are about to meet. LinkedIn and Google can give you a lot of help in this area.
Research the person’s industry. Know the competition. Know what challenges are facing them. Make sure you are armed with enough topics to discuss with them about themselves, their company, and their interests. When you can figure things out before you meet the individual, you become far more confident in talking to them.
You need not let them know that you’ve done your research. But by coming prepared to the meeting, you give yourself a confidence boost and put your fears aside. Best of all, you’re showing the person you are to meet that you are someone who does what it takes to succeed. And at the end of the day, the odds are you will.