The Softer Side of Networking: Authenticity

by Sabrina Risley

You walk into a room full of business professionals. Your mind starts churning. “What if I don’t know anybody? What if I’m not dressed appropriately?  What if I don’t get a new client? What if I mess up my 30-second introduction?”

As your head spins with all the ‘what ifs’ and possibilities of the upcoming event, you hardly ever hear it say, “Just be yourself!”  However, what if being authentic was the only ‘what if’ you needed to entertain?  International best-selling author, Bob Burg writes about The Law of Authenticity in detail in Go-Giver’s Sell More as well as his blog articles.  This topic is probably something we want to take to heart 🙂

When you first meet someone, you have mere seconds to make a first impression.  During those first few seconds, most of us are so worried about being strategic and thinking about what to say, that we lose the opportunity to be ourselves. When we aren’t ourselves, we say the strangest things, sometimes regrettable things that aren’t representative of who we actually are. We leave a conversation beating ourselves up, wondering “Why did I say that? I never say stuff like that!”  We’ve all been there. And the reason is that we are likely separated from our authentic self during the conversation.

If we can just stop, take a breath and quiet our minds, we can more easily focus on the person with whom we are interacting.  Our head chatter is typically not the ‘real us,’ yet if we listen to it and interact with the chatter in the driver’s seat, it becomes what others observe and understand us to be. Pausing momentarily and being truly present with others allows us to quiet our mind, listen fully and contribute authentically to the conversation, without concern for booking an appointment or making a sale.

Many shy away from the idea of being “authentic.”  Authenticity isn’t about airing dirty laundry. Rather it’s about breaking down facades, being ‘real’ and allowing people to get to know your personal side. If you like cats and you’re in a conversation with a bunch dog-lovers, by all means take a stand for the cat (they get the short end of the stick as it is)!  While this example may seem silly, it can be compared to our business conversations about the best online shopping cart or which contact management system we prefer.

Think about what you remember most about conversations you have with people. You will likely find that you recall the personal stories more easily than the business small talk. Your authentic side is what connects you to others and allows your networking to become more natural and real.

Remember, people love to support, help and refer business to their friends. When you bring authenticity into your networking, allows you create the space for deeper and more meaningful connections, similar to that of a friendship.  Bill Gates said it best… “Referrals come through who you are, not what you sell.” Not only will you get to know people far more easily and quickly, but more importantly, they will get to know the genuine and bona fide YOU.   So I challenge you to defy what you were taught about being on your best behavior all the time.  Instead just be your best authentic self.  After all, “The most valuable give you have to offer is yourself.”  Bob Burg’s Law of Authenticity.

(c) 2012 Behind The Moon, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Related article: Five Keys To Authentic Marketing

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Feel free to share this article in its entirety and include Sabrina Risley’s Bio information below along with live link back to this blog post.  Thank you.

Sabrina Risley founded Behind The Moon, Inc.® in 2003, a Colorado-based networking organization that sets itself apart with its motto “grow your business by helping others grow theirs.” Behind The Moon offers several networking events across Colorado’s Front Range that attract professionals who network to give rather than get. You will find Sabrina speaking to audiences about effective networking techniques, the power of partnerships, and principles of service and giving as a means to grow a business. Sign up for Sabrina’s free report, Networking For Success 

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