Lead generation and relationship building are strong facets of building a reliable and trusted brand presence that will further support the organization’s goals and objectives. The most common way to achieve all of these goals is through networking. Take notice, most common was used in place of easy.

Networking is defined as a process that fosters the exchange of information and ideas among individuals or groups that share common interests. There are other definitions based on industry, but we are going to focus on social networking for your business, brand, and you.

There are many common essentials that are needed to hone this skill. These essentials are broken down into show up, purpose, focus, conversation, authenticity, and follow up. Novels can be written on each of these fundamental essentials for proper and successful networking.

Of all the essentials, one is touched on, but never really discussed in length – show up. How do you walk into a room full of people you don’t know, access groups that have formed without being awkward, and remain confident and cool? It’s possibly the most funda-mental piece of the puzzle. When networking, Bare to be You, in the sense of really showing your authentic self. Be vulnerable, be you.

We all do it; We all get to the door, stop, and think of a million excuses NOT to walk into the sea of the unknown that is reverberating in front of us. Sometimes, we simply turn and walk in the other direction. Unashamedly, I have been guilty of this.

Over the years, I’ve realized I’m not the only one! We all feel just as awkward as everyone else. Yet, we are all there for the same reason – to share information, exchange ideas, and find others with common professional interests. So, what is the pause before we enter this pool of possibilities?

I’ve thought about this, and listened to a lot of speakers regarding the matter. It boils down to being liked, accepted, and remaining authentic to ourselves (and our company). The fear of rejection is a background noise that is so subtle, we don’t consciously recognize it. Sneaky, right?

Authenticity is often presented and focused on heavily in sales and business, but what does it mean? To be authentic is to be trustworthy, reliable, and credible – yes, we all know this. It also means to be yourself, and vulnerable. Please note, the word “perfect” is not part of being, or showing authenticity. When allowed to be vulner-able, you are giving yourself permission to be cap-able.  The key word here is able.

Before you walk into, or away from, your next event, Bare to be You. Your goal in networking is to share and exchange information and ideas in an authentic and purposeful fashion, and so is everyone else’s goal. Our common interest is to build and develop relationships and promote our companies’ services in hopes to help others, even lift them up.