Networking events are a useful marketing tool for many businesses. So if they fill you with fear and anxiety then you could be missing out.
Using a combination of Cognitive Behavioural Techniques (CBT) and Acceptance Action Training (AAT) it is possible to put this fear behind you so that networking events become a joy – not a pain.
CBT takes a logical approach to the problem. For example it suggests that although we may believe others will notice we’re fearful and that this could negatively impact our social or business standing, the truth is that others rarely notice. They’re probably more interested in what they want to say and achieve through networking. Furthermore, most people have experienced anxiety at some time in their lives, most commonly when speaking to groups. So their response, in the unlikely event they did notice your anxiety, is likely to be empathic rather than judgemental.
By combining CBT with Acceptance Action Training (AAT) you can move past the fear and eliminate it altogether.
AAT encourages us to accept (for now) our uncomfortable feelings. This is one of the most powerful psychological tools anyone can develop. Most people go through life resisting or avoiding uncomfortable feelings.
Accepting feelings is about being willing to fully experience them and telling ourselves it’s OK to be feeling whatever we’re feeling, for now. Accepting uncomfortable feelings just means accepting them as long as they’re there, rather than accepting that it’s OK for them to remain.
Learning to accept uncomfortable feelings has many benefits. First it enables us to be less distressed by the feeling. Secondly acceptance nearly always diminishes uncomfortable feelings. Finally accepting an uncomfortable feeling makes it easier to do the thing we’re afraid of, which is the key to resolving the problem.
Avoiding things we’re fearful of will always reinforce the programming that’s driving the fear. If I’m anxious about speaking to groups, it’s because somehow I believe that it’s dangerous or threatening to do so. Every time I avoid speaking to groups I reinforce that belief. My unconscious thinks: “If I’m avoiding it, then it must be because it’s dangerous”.
By contrast, doing things we’re fearful of, while accepting the fear, unwinds the programming that’s driving the feelings.
Acceptance-Action Training says: “Accept the feeling, choose the action”. If we want to resolve a feeling pattern, the action we choose should always be the opposite of whatever the feeling is telling us to do. So, if we’re anxious about networking we need to accept the feeling and start networking.
‘Accept the feeling, choose the action’, is a powerful adage to live our lives by. It can be used to break through reticence, procrastination, fear of failure or any other self-limitation. I encourage my clients to use it in every area of their lives limited by uncomfortable feelings. The more we use it the more powerful we become.
Learning these skills is one component of a ‘personal effectiveness and achievement’ training called Acceptance-Action Training.
Through this training, everyone can be taught how to eliminate regret, worry, dissatisfaction, stress and anxiety, become more motivated and effective, achieve more, improve their relationships and gain more satisfaction from their work and their whole lives.
About Graham W Price:Graham W Price, Chartered Psychologist, CBT Specialist and Stress Management Consultant. He offers a seminar in London costing just £20.00 that teaches Positive Acceptance. See www.abicord.com . The seminar is available on DVD at www.abicord.com/dvd.
Graham’s book What Is, Is! The Power of Positive Acceptance, based on his training, is available from Amazon and good bookshops. A free pre-view can be downloaded at http://www.what-is-is.com/ .