The not so terrifying world of strangers

03 Jul 2013
Reference: Seth Godin

It seems ‘stranger danger’ is a childhood concept we find hard to leave behind no matter how old we get.

Many of us feel something bordering on barely supressed terror at the thought of turning up somewhere alone with no one at the destination we can call a friend.

The problem is twofold: most of us feel the same and most of us walk into these situations expecting to be rejected. We come across as unfriendly, a bit spiky and guess what? We get rejected. And with the majority feeling the same way, network-style gatherings can be a lot harder work than they need to be.

If we all approached them with the same mentality: one of anticipation of opportunity and possibility rather than fear of rejection, everyone would benefit, especially us.

People that seem to make connections more easily are underneath it all no different to those of us that struggle. They’ve simply made a choice to confront and overcome their fear and it’s a really rather generous choice as they are the ones that weave a group of strangers together.

The next time you are faced with the terrifying or exhausting prospect of a client black tie do or an industry networking event, acknowledge the fear, recognise that everyone there probably feels the same and then visualise the benefits (personal and professional), the learning and the endless possibilities that making a new connection can bring.