One of the most important things I do for my clients is help them see the value of networking. Many of them think it means forcibly making their resumes and business cards rain over everyone they meet, or engaging in forced conversations that neither side really wants to be a part of. Changing those perceptions is tantamount to my success as a career coach and to their success as careerists.
I hope my generation starts to truly networking for what it is – the science of how information is spread. They are already doing it in their day-to-day lives, on social media and in person at happy hour. They just haven’t learned how to take these run of the mill conversations to the next level, which will ensure that the connection continues long beyond the end of the event. As they being to integrate meaningful networking into their daily lives, they come to see that it really isn’t selfish, or fake, nor a waste of their time.
When my clients finally feel comfortable with networking – when they’re going to events, meeting people, having coffees, sharing contacts, and getting job offers – I give them one more insight to help them really uplevel their networking: keep your negative thoughts in check.
If you’re like me, you’ve probably been told that your confidence counts in your job interviews… It’s not about just going through with the motions. Science has demonstrated again and again that our positive and negative thoughts impact our energy, and as the most intelligent networkers will tell you, self-awareness and mastery over these thoughts is a game-changer when it comes to establishing professional relationships.
Depending on what you remember from grade school science classes, you may already know that energy can be neither created nor destroyed. What does that mean, though? Scientists are now saying that when a butterfly flaps its wings on the tip of South America, it affects the winds in the North Pole. Our actions and energy are so important because they impact everything else, regardless of proximity. We are all connected.
In 1992, a Japanese doctor by the name of Masaru Emoto conducted an experiment assessing the power of human consciousness on the molecular composition of water. He divided his water into two glasses and used high-speed photography to capture images of its molecular composition He exposed one glass of the water to music with lyrics that focused on love and gratitude and exposed the other to music with lyrics about heartache and sadness. He then used high-speed photography to capture the molecular transformations in each glass, and his results were groundbreaking. The molecules in the water that was exposed to positive words formed into crystallized, beautiful snowflakes; the molecules in the water that was exposed to the sad music formed into scattered, dark and disjointed snowflakes. Considering the fact that our bodies are made up of roughly 70 percent water, these results send the message that our thoughts really count.
Keep that in mind the next time you start a conversation at a networking event, in a job interview, or at the salad bar in Au Bon Pain. When we buy into the social chatter about the bad economy, the misery of the job hunt, or the hopelessness of things improving any time soon, we are changing our bodies on a cellular and molecular level. Rather than reiterating all that negativity, focus on being positive about the situation instead. Others can feel your fear when you’re networking, and the people who accept your negativity are the people who are probably trapped in that mindset with you. Is that really who you want in your network? Conquer your negative thoughts and choose instead to accept yourself with gratitude and love no matter where the conversation goes. If you approach networking with a positive outlook, you will find yourself surrounded by others whose optimism will encourage you and help you reach your full potential.