Media Parents members generally admit to a communal dread of networking events, so they were out in force to pick up tips from www.magickey.co.uk life coach Lyn Burgess at a Media Parents event kindly hosted by Prime Focus in Soho.
Lyn told us we would be analyzing our limiting beliefs and learning how to get rid of them, and we would learn how to make ourselves feel more confident before a networking event. Bring it on.
So why were Media Parents members keen to network? For support, to do research, broaden horizons, make money, to get out of the house, make contacts, promote ourselves, share ideas and recommend people.
Lyn told us that it’s rare to actually get a job directly through networking but there’s a phrase called “paying it forward” in networking which is the belief that if you sort out opportunities for others then it will eventually come around for you. Hope so.
So why NOT network? It’s hard work, there’s a fear of rejection, shyness stops us, it’s relentless and sometimes boring. You can end up making a gaffe (Is here the place to admit that last time I was at the Edinburgh TV Festival I bounded up to Jimmy Carr after a great session and said “Well done, Alan.”?) We’re afraid of bothering people, feeling / seeming needy, we feel fake, don’t want to seem desperate – we’re too entrenched in our limiting beliefs to make the time to do it.
Here’s how to get rid of a limiting belief. Get a pen and paper. Draw a table top (big enough to write on, and it’s going to have legs in a minute).
Write your limiting belief on the table top. (Ours were about networking, but it could be a limiting belief about anything). Here are some of the things people wrote: “I’m not good at selling myself to people I don’t know”. “I might not meet the right people”. ”I don’t feel I’m good enough”. “It’s hard work talking to strangers”. “I’m too old”. Heck.
Then you draw the 4 table legs, and down each leg you write a reason why you feel that way. So if your limiting belief is “I’m not good at selling myself to people I don’t know” you might write “I’m shy in groups”, “I think of all my career negatives”, “I engage my mouth before my brain” and “I’ve been staying at home too much”.
Next to each leg you write the counter argument – “Even a shy person can try to talk to anyone – what’s the worst that could happen?”, “Remember the praise I’ve had at work, and what I can do”, “I can research, plan ahead and have some things prepared to say”, “I will get out more”.
Scribble out the negatives, score through the limiting belief on the table top, screw up the paper and chuck it in the bin. You’ll have engaged different parts of your brain to do this exercise – creative, analytical, emotional, physical (who doesn’t find screwing up paper just a little bit satisfying?) – and that process helps you to move on and leave your limiting belief behind. ”Get it out of your head, onto a page, and then let it go.”
Next Lyn taught us an NLP exercise. How do we want to feel before a networking event? Confident! (Unanimous). Close your eyes, take a couple of deep breaths and imagine a time when you felt confident. Visualize your state of mind, your surroundings etc and try to feel that you are there, feeling that feeling. Now, with your eyes still closed, make a gesture with your hand. Whenever you make this gesture, you will bring back your feelings of confidence.
“This gesture is your ‘anchor’ – you can’t wear it out, but you need to use it to feel the benefit” Lyn told us.
Have a go, why not?
Stuck for something to say? Here’s an acronym to help: FORM
If you’re flying solo trying to break into a group then look around the room for signals – eye contact, smiling, a friendly face will do. You can always ask “Can I join you?” It’s rare that anyone will say no.
Questions from the floor: “How much chat should be about yourself?” “Less than you think”. Ask questions too. ”What should you do if you’re out of work?” “Don’t worry about it. Never apologise for what you haven’t done”. Prepare – research, it will help you feel more confident. If you want a job at a particular company find out what they’re doing at the moment, watch their stuff. “Identify what you are or what you want and confidence will follow”. ”How do you approach career gaps?” “With confidence. If you say ‘I’ve had kids’ in a confident way, people accept it”.
And with that they hit the booze and started networking.
Lyn Burgess is a life coach running The Magic Key Partnership www.magickey.co.uk . As a specialist in the film and television industry, Lyn has experience of working with hundreds of producers, directors, writers and actors since the company was established in 2002.
Much of Lyn’s work with clients revolves around career – keeping things in perspective, improving motivation for freelancers, transition from one role to another, building up confidence and networking for career development.
The Magic Key Partnership runs workshops on a monthly basis and one to one coaching for clients via email, telephone or Skype.
Lyn has kindly offered a discount on one-to-one coaching sessions or workshops to members of Media Parents.