Maggie was one of two directors of a small business. The directors knew that business networking was an important part of their strategy for growing the business, but only Andy actually did any.

As a business, they needed more clients, and they needed their services to be more widely known in the local community. They both recognised that Maggie should network with other businesses.

It quickly became apparent that Maggie was highly resistant to the idea. She agreed she should do it. Deep down, she wanted to do it. But the idea of walking into a room full of people she didn’t know filled her with little short of terror.

As Maggie and I talked about what her reservations were, and how realistic they were, she was identifying the problems that many people have when it comes to business networking.

We had quite a long chat, during which we uncovered that her real reservations were not those on the surface.

As I’ll show later, when we want to change our behaviour in any part of our lives, we need to change the beliefs and feelings we have about that behaviour. If we don’t change those beliefs and feelings, it’s not really surprising that the old behaviour persists.

Her real reservations were not those on the surface.

We create our feelings and beliefs about the world from our experiences of it. The best way of changing our beliefs and feelings, therefore, is to have new experiences. So, I suggested to Maggie that she go to a particular event in a week or so’s time. I knew this event would be laid back to the point of being horizontal. It would be the least stressful business networking event one could possibly imagine.

Because she is an honourable woman, I knew that if she said she would go, she would. So I made sure I didn’t leave her office until she had undertaken to grasp the nettle.

Later, I had a word with the organiser of the event. I asked him to do as much as he could to make Maggie’s experience as stress-free as possible. He promised to look out for her and to introduce her to some people.

I also discovered that a business colleague intended to go to the event and asked her to look after Maggie too. I knew my colleague would make an effort to ensure Maggie met some people and she’d support Maggie.

I was unable to go to the event myself. Later, I had some feedback from my co-conspirators who reported that Maggie had attended and had been very nervous. But she stayed the course. And, naturally, as soon as she had done it once, she knew she could do it again.

The moral is that sometimes it is best to be, as the witches advised Macbeth, “bloody, bold and resolute”.

This is a shortened extract from Network betterby Jeremy Marchant
. © 2018 Jeremy Marchant Limited . image:  Free images

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