I was hiking the other day and consumed by my own thoughts and the beauty of the forest around me I almost tripped, several times. So for the rest of the hike I focused on what was in front of me to avoid any possible fall.
Later that day I began thinking, do I focus enough when networking? How present am I when speaking to individuals? I decided to speak to a few friends and read more articles about focus and compiled 4 tips which I hope you can apply to improve your networking skills.
Morning of Event:
Meditate. More and more articles studying the positivity of meditation are surfacing. A recent Harvard study concluded that meditating 27 minutes a day for 8 weeks significantly increases gray matter density in our brain. Gray matter is important for attention, emotional regulation and mental flexibility – all of which can be applied when networking. Given the benefits, I am starting to transition to meditating slowly. A recommended app called Headspace has a free 10 day guided meditation lasting 10 minutes so it is easy to start today!
Set goals. I am not the first to tell you about setting and writing down goals and I won’t be the last. Writing down your goals or even telling someone about them holds you more accountable to completing them. If you are heading to a networking event by yourself, jot a few down before you leave and if you are going with a friend share goals with each other and check up on one another during the event. I recently downloaded an app called Coach.me which helps you with goal setting and provides you access to a community of like-minded individuals you can draw advice or inspiration from.
Speak to yourself in a different language. Huh, you may be saying to yourself?! I personally speak another language but not extremely well. I find that when I communicate in another language I speak slower, choose words more selectively, apply more focus to get my point across and in general listen more attentively to understand what the other person is saying. So, if you feel your focus slipping throughout the night, I would suggest imagining yourself having to explain what you do and why you are there in a different language to make sure you don’t lose sight of your goal in the conversation.
Reward yourself. We don’t reward ourselves enough and many of us are also too hard on ourselves (I know I am guilty of that). So celebrate even your little victories and apply a reward system to when you leave the networking event to provide even more incentive to stay focused.
If you have any strategies that work for you to help focus, would love for you to share!