This is another in a series of guest posts, this time from fellow AIIP member, Frances Caballo.
Some days I just don’t feel like networking. I’d rather stay at home, write a few blogs, or send a few tweets. But burrowing in my office won’t bring me clients or money to pay the mortgage -- so I venture out and pretend to be an extrovert.
Take today as an example. My task list included taking a new class at the gym and checking out a new networking group. Thirty minutes before the class started, I vacillated. What if the class was too difficult? What if no one wanted to show me how to use the equipment? Did I really need to exercise today? Couldn’t I just go to the gym later when it would be quiet and workout by myself? Well, I knew I wouldn’t go to the gym later so I pushed myself, went to the “Body Pump!” class, and did just fine.
Having pumped a dose of endorphins into my body, I felt confident about networking. After all, I’d just taken an exercise class with 20- and 30-year-olds. In comparison, networking with adults more my age would be a breeze.
I raced home, freshened up, and headed to the networking event. I smiled, introduced myself, asked for a few business cards, and said something that made people laugh. In short, I networked -- and it was fun.
What I rediscovered was that working out not only renews my confidence, it leaves me feeling calm and relaxed. When my anxiety disappears, I’m able to be more natural, more myself. Somehow, it isn't so difficult to take that first step, shake someone’s hand, and enjoy the conversation.
What if I don’t have time to exercise first? I apply some makeup, put on a great outfit, do some deep-breathing exercises, and pretend to be an extrovert. And then I introduce myself to the first friendly face I spot.
Frances Caballo has 22 years of experience in communications and nonprofit resource development and has worked with local, regional and national nonprofits. She is presently the Social Media Editor for Redwood Writers, a board member with Redwood Writers, and a volunteer with Golden Gate Labrador Retriever Rescue. Her company is Act Communications, and she specializes in helping nonprofits with their social media marketing, communications, and fund development needs. Frances is bilingual (English/Spanish).