Two techniques for Networking like an Athlete

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High level athletic performance doesn’t just happen. Every single athlete you admire today undergoes a strict diet and regime of training and physiotherapy to perform as they do. And they train their thinking as well. When it comes to performance, preparation starts a long time before an actual game begins, and research has shown that the right mental techniques not only gets athletes in the right frame of mind, but helps them recover quicker from injuries and achieve their goals as well.

These mental techniques add value on and off the field for athletes. We’ve identified a couple in particular that can be applied to how we approach networking…

*TALK YOURSELF UP: There’s a reason movies spend so much time on the pep talk a team receives prior to a big game. It’s because it works. Sports psychologists conducting a study on ‘self-talk’ amongst athletes found that not only does it help them improve their techniques but it also keeps them confident, provides momentum and gives them a competitive edge. A friend from the Australian Army was asked to give the North Queensland Cowboys (back in the day when they weren’t winning many games) a pep talk prior to a game on the ANZAC Day weekend, that they were expected to be comprehensively beaten in.  The Cowboys came out and comprehensively defeated their opposition.  They played with passion and ANZAC spirit.  The pep talk had an impact. I also know networkers who walk into a networking event don’t have a great start, walk back outside, give themselves a pep-talk and then walk back in and start again on the right foot.

BEFORE YOU BEGIN NETWORKING: Is your inner dialogue focused on how nervous you are and whether you’ll find anyone worth networking with, or is it focused on reminding yourself that you have something of value to offer that people will want to receive?

*VISUALISE IT: When rehearsing game plans, many athletes close their eyes to visualise how each movement will play out in real life. Research conducted into the brain patterns of weightlifters found that the mental patterns for lifting weights are the same ones evoked when the weightlifters mentally visualised themselves lifting weights. The Australian Institute of Sport has been using visualisation with many of its elite athletes for year.  The year Saint Kilda made the AFL Grand Final, each player used visualisation to picture how many possessions they were going to get, how the were going to attack the football, tackle and the overall run of play.

BEFORE YOU BEGIN NETWORKING: When you visualise yourself in a networking setting, do you imagine the kind of responses you could receive and the questions that you could get asked? Visualising these details before stepping foot into the room will prepare you for every eventuality; increasing your confidence and enjoyment of the networking process!

Implementing these two techniques into your networking could improve your efforts instantly, and you’ll be able to put them into practice by BOOKING YOUR ATTENDANCE at our Business Breakfast on the 15th November. You’ll be hearing from a pro athlete guest speaker and will get to flex your networking muscles too!


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