and "How are you?"
If you've had a bad day, you're sick, or just not feeling it, it's tempting to tell them how you really are. And while transparency and authenticity are good things, it's better to be your highest and best version of your authentic self when you're networking.
Resist the temptation to lay it all on the line. Because they don't want to hear it.
Now, if it's a close friend, and they know you've had problems, then they probably do want to know how you are and how you're dealing with your difficulties. Everyone else is just being polite. Whatever you do, don't answer this question with a list of your problems.
We've all been on the receiving end. You see someone you have a passing acquaintance with. "How are you?" you ask. They proceed to give you a long list of their problems and difficulties. By the time they are done, the load of negativity you picked up from them has put a damper on your day and you just want to go home and hide under a blanket.
Don't do this to other people. Regardless of how bad you might think things are, leave your problems outside the business networking event. It's not lying, it's using good social skills. If you need positive feedback, let your friends know you need support, but otherwise, there are plenty of good reasons to avoid discussing your problems with someone you just met:
- Unless that person is the cause of your problem, there's nothing they can do about it.
- If this is the first time you've met them, you're now labeled as a complainer in their mind.
- If you have to mention a body part that we can't see, that's way too personal!
- You're injecting negativity into a business networking event.
- You're wasting time whining about your life when you could be building a connection that could solve your problem.
- Everybody has problems. And someone in that room has a worse one than you do.
Put your positive self out there and you'll get positivity back from people. Having a bad day? A networking event can be an opportunity to get lifted up and to be encouraged. Keep your problems to yourself and you'll probably see them fade away!
Beth Bridges, The Networking Motivator TM