How to Network Effectively and Create Meaningful Opportunities

How to Network Effectively and Create Meaningful Opportunities

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In today’s world, we are constantly being told to network and build contacts to make opportunities happen. Meeting new people to establish personal or work relationships in a new setting – even if it is as beautiful and stimulating as Paris – requires effort. Lots of it.

I know many of you, like me, moved to Paris knowing only one person: your French partner. I thought moving to the City of Light would open up many business opportunities for me, and that I’d have amazing friends with whom I’d be sipping apéros on rooftop terraces. Instead, I found myself sitting in networking events trying so hard to get people to take on my services and I couldn’t understand why no one was signing up. I slipped further and further into a deep state of “I’m not good enough.”

I would look around the room at all the glamourous ladies thinking, “No wonder they don’t want to work with me, that lady over there and there seems so much more qualified, sophisticated and all around better than me.”

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If you’re like me, just the thought of having to network is daunting. I think the reason for this is because for so long, we’ve been communicating with people from the space of the mind. When we do this, we communicate from a space of “I’m not good enough,” and we feel that everyone will be judging us.

I feel that the reason for this is because from birth, we’ve been conditioned to believe that in order to feel good enough, we need to fit into a certain box. The reason we don’t like networking is because when we’re selling ourselves or talking about ourselves, we get into a defensive space wondering what we’re going to say to make people like us.

Author at Global Woman event. © Nika jazaee

 

“Hi, my name is Connie-Lee and I’m a Holistic Psychotherapist,” I say with the biggest smile across my face, because I hope that this smile will make me more approachable. But inside I’m thinking, “She probably thinks I’m soooo uninteresting.”

In that moment, I jump to my automatic defense mechanism of quickly brushing off any question they ask me and turning the attention onto them. Because if I don’t talk about myself, they won’t find out that I’m actually a “fraud” or I’m a “failure” or “‘I’m just not good enough.”

When we communicate from this space we are communicating from the space of the ego. This way of communicating is not the real you.

As humans, we are the head, yes, but we are also the heart and soul.

Author Connie-Lee Bennett

Speak from the heart

The heart is the gift that we have in this human experience and lifetime that tells us whether we’re communicating from the space of the mind or the space of the soul. When we connect with the essence of who we are, we feel a sense of lightness in our body. When we communicate from the space of the mind, we feel heaviness in our body because we are in fear of being judged. The heart knows best who you are and what you can offer to others.

Best to be yourself

When we connect and collaborate from the space of the essence of who we are, we know there is no “better than” or “worse than” as we are all divinely connected. We know that when meeting and talking to people, we are all one and therefore all the same. We know that we don’t have to fix someone or feel like we need to “take” or “prove” ourselves when networking; we just have to BE.

INSPIRELLE speed coaching event
INSPIRELLE speed coaching event © Alexis Duclos for INSPIRELLE

Learn to INSPIRE not impress

Imagine walking into a room full of people knowing that it doesn’t matter what they think of you, because you know that who you are is the perfect gift for someone in that room. You will network from the space of “how can I inspire and bless this person?” (the soul) rather than from the space of “how can I prove that I am good enough so this person can buy my services?” (head).

To network is to make human contact

After connecting with the truth of how to network, I no longer walk into a room feeling fearful. I walk into a room thinking, “How can I inspire this person to be more free so they can be the best version of themselves?” When we network from this space, we empower others and in so doing empower ourselves. Our unconscious energy sends people messages of either being “needy” or “wanting to give”. People feel this and will respond to this vibration.

When I shifted my mindset to a space of wanting to collaborate rather than compete, I developed meaningful relationships.

I now feel confident walking into a room of strangers. More than that, I love networking because I understand it isn’t about me, it is about how I can inspire and empower others.

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Connie-Lee Bennett
Born in Zimbabwe and educated at South Africa’s University of Cape Town, psychotherapist Connie-Lee taught psychology for a decade in the UK before coming to Paris to found Meraki Therapy. Meraki is Greek and means doing something from the Soul, a central concept to her method. Connie is passionate about bringing holistic psychotherapy to the awareness of modern society because it gives people tools to create the life they love. Nominated by Expatriates Magazine for Best in Paris in Complementary Therapy, and currently writing her first book, Connie combines practicing holistic psychotherapy, leading certified Heal Your Life® workshops and public speaking.

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