Friday, October 30th, 2020

How-to: Achieve Better Networking Results with Positive Emotions

By Lisa Sansom on May 16 2011 • Filed under How-To

Be positive when networking.

How do you feel about networking events? While most people see them as a required part of business, it can be difficult to know how to act and react when you’re trying to make lucrative and mutually beneficial connections.

Fortunately, positive psychology has some interesting research findings that can be turned into concrete and practical networking tips. So here are a few things to consider and try the next time you are working the room.

Positive Emotions are beneficial to networking

When you are in a good mood, the world opens up. We literally see more when we are in a good mood, and we are more open to creativity, new solutions, working with others and being more resilient in the face of set-backs. How does this help when you are networking? We all know that when we are networking, it is about connecting with the other person – what is the problem they have and how can you help them. Your positive mood will enable you to creatively adapt your business offerings, on the fly, to the needs of this new contact. You will feel more aligned and in tune with the other person when you are in a positive mood, and more open to helping them and seeing things from their perspective. And if it doesn’t work out, you’re more able to bounce back after a disappointing conversation, ready to bring your best game into the next discussion with that other person standing right over there…

So what do you do if you’re not in a good mood? What if, just before you enter the networking event, you’ve had a hellish time finding a parking spot and it’s raining and you have to walk really far and realized that you forgot to bring your wallet for the cash bar – find a way to snap out of it!

Upbeat music, laughter, deep breathing and a peppy self-talk could all help. If you are going to the event with a friend, ask her for help and jokes. Or else take a break and go to the event later. Going in a bad, frustrated mood will only reflect poorly on you and your business.

Positive Emotions are contagious

Smile, and the world smiles with you – it’s literally true. Your emotional state is contagious to others and their emotional state will affect you, even before the other person starts speaking. So all of the benefits listed above that you accrue from being in a positive mindset? Those rub off on people you talk with as well. Now they are feeling more creative. Now they are feeling more open to problem solving. Now they are feeling more friendly and willing to work with others – like you! We often hear that people don’t buy your services because of your business – they buy because of you. And if you are in a positive mood, and that helps others to get in a positive mood, then there is greater emotional alignment, greater mutual problem-solving and a greater chance of business being transacted.

Positive Emotions help reduce stress

Let’s be honest – networking events can be highly stressful, even if you enjoy them. It can have high stakes, and entering an unknown situation can be very uncomfortable. Our brain, constantly assessing the horizon for any sort of threat, can go into overdrive examining the newness of a networking event. We are not, generally speaking, well-adapted for entering a new location filled with new people, about to throw ourselves out of our comfort zone.

But again, being in a positive mood can come to your aid because positive emotions reduce stress. Your body physically responds favourably to the hormones and chemicals secreted when you laugh, meditate, exercise, or do anything else that puts you into a good mood. So let the positive emotions work for you on a physical level as well as a psychological one, and let your body feel at ease while networking. It’s better than booze, believe it or not!

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