Three principles for meeting people: Nobody cares, nobody minds & the exception is an asshole.
Networking sucks. But we can get through it…
I used to suck at meeting people. Really, I’d be that guy standing in a corner for the entire night, staring alternately into an increasingly room temperature beer and the glowing light of my smartphone. I’d be that guy who would sign up for awesome events and then spend the entire afternoonbrainstorming valid ways to convince myself that it was okay not to turn up.
I love performing and public speaking and can do those without hesitation — but as I’m sure you know, there’s a clear line between a person on a stage and an audience that can transcend shyness or a lack of confidence. I’ve never been a particularly confident person, when faced with the prospect of talking to somebody one on one.
Part of this probably stems from my years struggling through speech therapy to deal with the fact that most people couldn’t understand me. Even today, my constant fear is that I will open my mouth and people will get that confused look in their eyes and say…..Sorry? Pardon?
The good news is, I can get over it now. I can deal with the lack of confidence, and while there is no chance that I can command a room with my presence and network like a hyped up motivational speaker on 3 acid tabs. But I can get out of my own head, introduce myself and meet cool people. I do this by recognising and acting in accordance with three principles.
These principles are based on a lot of personal experience, but they’re also based on a certain faith in humanity and a belief that most people aren’t that bad. They’re not horrible at least. Every time I approach someone and strike up a conversation, the same three things have rung true.
A) Nobody really cares. You can stumble over your words, spill your drink or not be up to date with the latest hot news and people won’t actually give a damn. As long as you’re excited to meet them, you show respect and you actively try to engage, they’ll be happy to talk.
B) Nobody really minds meeting people. At the end of the day, even someone in a foul is probably not going to respond negatively if you are genuinely interested in who they are and what their story is.
C) The exception to the above principles is either a real asshole or they’re having a bad day. If it’s the first, at least you’ll know for next time. If it’s the second, that’s not your fault.
Instead of worrying about personal branding or how to work a room, try following these principles. They’re a good rule of thumb any time you have to meet new people and interact with them. Take it from someone who used to be paralysed with fear any time there was a chance I’d have to interact with a stranger.
In the end, these principles work if you’re genuine in the way you talk to and treat other people. That’s why these are principles, not networking techniques. Do you know who teaches networking techniques? The same people who actively call themselves motivational speakers and #hashtag #everything #in #their #twitter #bio. People who aren’t genuine. Don’t be those people.