So, picture this: I got on a plane and flew to Savannah, GA, for dinner. For DINNER!
Well, okay, it wasn’t just any ol’ dinner. I threw my name in when Susan Hyatt announced her, “Girlfriends Gone Wild” event. One night, 20 fabulous women, a little life coaching and great food.
Doesn’t it all sound like fun? Well, it was. …until it came time to actually ENTER the restaurant.
See, I’ve always had this ‘thing’ about walking into rooms of people I don’t know. It’s odd—I can be on stage in front of thousands and not bat an eye. I can teach a group without a moment’s hesitation. But to just walk in to a room of strangers and have to start making small talk???
Jesus, take the wheel.
Guess what? THIS IS SOMETHING I HAVE TO DO! I mean, I just big fat have to do it sometimes. Why?
Relationships are imperative for what we do. (Yes, for WHATEVER we do.) And, no, I’m not talking networking. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want anyone’s business card unless I want it, and it’s likely that I don’t want it if there’s no connection. (Soapbox for a another day.)
So here’s how I handled my good, old-fashioned FREAKING OUT about entering a room of people I didn’t know.
1. I decided on my question.
You know, the question—So, what do you do? I spent a lot of years working at a job that in no way defined me or gave much insight into who I really was, and it was during that time that I stopped asking people what they ‘did.’ I’m not as interested in what someone does as who they are. So, I started asking other questions—What do you like to do for fun? or I’m planning my next vacation. Where’s your favorite vacation spot? Based on who was going to be attending this particular event, I decided my question was, “So what are you most proud of?” (…it was a good one.)
2. I decided on my answer.
Even though I don’t love the question about what I do, I knew I was going to be asked. Here’s the start of my answer: My name is Belinda Smith, and I work with the best people in the world.
3. I reminded myself of why I was there in the first place.
I was there to meet, be inspired by, and to inspire amazing women. …and I’d just taken a night away from home to do it. SOMEONE was going to make it worth the trip whether they liked it or not!
Needless to say, I stepped out of my comfort zone in a BIG way. And, yes, it was worth it. For me, though, thinking about how I was going to show up and the kinds of conversations I wanted to have really did help the room-anxiety. It was like I’d given myself a road map of sorts, and Heaven knows we all need a little direction.
So, now that you know about my ’thing,’ do you have tips on how YOU do this? How do you do parties with strangers? HELP ME OUT HERE!