Networking in person is a thrill when compared to the virtual options popular during the pandemic.
However, I've found my networking skills to be a bit rusty recently.
Have you found yourself...
- talking too much about yourself?
- feeling awkward?
- not knowing what to say?
- being stressed out?
As a professional musician, I'd acquired a healthy mindset about performing,
and I noticed that in-person networking was starting to feel like a performance
in a good way.
Performing, like networking, is a way to connect and engage with others.
Here are 5 ways in which a performance artist mindset
helps create more meaningful network connections.
Performers warm up their bodies, minds, and instruments before a performance.
This translates into taking time to get grounded before going into a room full of people.
Take deep breaths, say mantras, or meditate to get grounded.
Be true to the music.
Focusing on the value of the music takes attention away from ego and feeling self-conscious.
For networking, remember what your goal is: connection.
It's not all about you. It's about creating a community that helps and supports each other.
Ask yourself how you can help and support others.
Let go of mistakes.
Professional musicians still make mistakes; they're just less noticeable because
performing artists are masters of recovering from them.
Don't let a networking mis-step make you anxious or cause you to lose confidence.
Let go of any tendency to focus on mistakes later as well.
The best performers are grateful for every person in the audience,
happy to receive their excited energy,
and hopeful that they've made their lives a little better.
Learn to be gracious to everyone you meet.
Performers usually participate in some type of reception following the performance.
Audience members tell them what they liked (and sometimes what they didn't like).
Don't forget to follow up on your networking the next day
by sending an email or connecting on social media.
The way this allows you to foster your connections
is similar to the way audience feedback fosters future audience engagement.
It may seem cold to equate networking with performing,
but when you realize the strategies and mindsets of the best performance artists,
networking actually becomes more authentic.
Networking is a skill, just like performing.
Practicing will make you better.
You've likely been a little out of practice with the pandemic,
so leave judgment behind and enjoy the company of fellow humans!
Dr. Nancy Williams is a Culture Consultant and Coach who helps leaders create cultures of joy and empowerment, as well as a musician and educator. Sign up for her weekly emails of inspiration and receive the free guide "3 Ways to Beat Imposter Syndrome."