I highly recommend joining a networking group if you are a start-up business owners or if you are an 'old hat' at running a business.
I admit that I still get butterflies when I have to stand up at each meeting to promote myself and talk about what I do, but when it comes to running a business, I have always been a believer of stepping out of my comfort zone and trying new things. After all, as the saying goes... if it doesn't kill you it'll make you stronger!
This morning I ran my local networking group meeting; I was the Facilitator for the very first time. To say I was nervous is an understatement The very thought of trying to control 20 extremely confident and enthusiastic meeting members was something I was not really looking forward to/
As the meeting started, twenty pairs of eyes were upon me, ears were listening, ready and waiting to hear what I had to say. Deep inside I was wondering how I'd managed to get myself into this situation. I took a big breath, words came out of my mouth, and the meeting kicked off.
One hour later the meeting was over. A couple of people even came up to me and said I had done a wonderful job. Apparently I appeared confident and in control. If only they knew!
I read somewhere that people who appear confident tend to enjoy greater success, because others see self-assured individuals as more trustworthy. If you exude low self-confidence, or a lack of self-belief, others may assume that you’re incompetent, untrustworthy or unreliable.
Preparation and a good understanding of what you are saying is vital when speaking in public, whether it's when you're up there in front of an audience or when you're running a meeting.
After the meeting, as I drove back to my office, I reflected on the past hour. I remembered to sit up straight, breathe deeply, speak clearly and a little bit slower than I normally do. I made eye contact with others around the room and listened carefully when other people were speaking. Oh and I provided Hershey's kisses for everyone, because chocolate bribes are a must!
One meeting down, 12 more to go...
Marion Jackson is an accomplished Executive Assistant who has identified a gap in the local New Zealand market for providing affordable websites and business support.