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Building Relationships: 10 Ways to Get the Most Out of Social Networking Sites

Building Relationships: 10 Ways to Get the Most Out of Social Networking Sites
Get the Most Out of Social Networking Sites

The Internet has changed the way we relate to each other, as business partners, as clients, as friends, as family, even as lovers. Not only has it become easier to stay in touch with people we already know, it has become easier to find and connect with people we’ve never met before — and might not ever meet at all!

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Whether you’re looking for new customers, a new audience, a new business partner, a new vendor, new friends, or a new one night stand, you can maximize your use of the Internet and the wave of social networking sites that have cropped up to help us connect. Doing even a few of these things will set you apart from the vast majority of people who view social network sites as toys and networking as “just for fun” (though it can be fun, too).

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  1. Have a clear purpose: Know what you’re using a social networking site for. While it’s ok to have a profile somewhere that’s just for “hanging out”, you need to know that hanging out is its purpose. If you are using a social networking site to try to build an audience, connect with other professionals, or meet your next wife, it should be focused on achieving that end. Don’t muddy the waters by trying to advertise your dog-walking service, pick up dates for the weekend, post pictures of the company picnic, and build an audience for your homebrew science fiction video series.
  2. Complete your profile: You’d be surprised how many people never do this. Yet it’s the first thing people want to know about you. Most people check all the boxes (I’m a Virgo, in a relationship… done!) but don’t do much with the real “meat” of their profile, the About Me section. Put some thought into what you want people to know about you and why people should care.
  3. Don’t follow the leader: It can be tempting to sit back and wait for people to contact you, for people to leave comments, for people to suggest installing some new application — rousing yourself only to respond to whatever prompts come your way. Take the initiative and add people, select a handful of apps you like and stick with them, and update on a semi-regular basis (or a regular basis; schedule 30 minutes a week to update your profile, if it’s an important part of your public image).
  4. Accept everyone: There are two schools of thought on this: create an inner circle of close colleagues, comrades, or companions; or create a huge body of followers, fans, or ex-girl- and boyfriends. I fall into the second camp — anyone who has taken the effort to “friend” me gets added. Those are the people who are willing to invest their attention in what you’re doing, who have given you permission to “broadcast” your life to them. Welcome them.
  5. Add everyone you know, no matter how little: Most services these days will scan your address book and tell you if there’s anyone you might already know onboard. Some will also recommend people a on people you already know, places you’ve worked, or interests you’ve highlighted. (LinkedIn is scarily good at this!) If you come across someone you actually know in “real life”, no matter how distantly, add them. That is, after all, the point of social networking — to leverage the often-invisible connections that exist between us and other people. The worst that can happen is that they say “no” — this has never happened to me.
  6. Pick one or two networks and work them: It can be tempting to sign up for dozens of social networking sites, especially when different contacts turn up on different sites. But it’s nearly impossible to make use of a dozen different sites, unless you figure out how to make a career of it. Instead, pick one or two sites and focus all your energies on creating useful, meaningful connections there.
  7. Send messages: Find a reason to connect with the people in your network, and send them a message once in a while. Since the main point of this is to keep a channel of communication open, it doesn’t have to be profound — a “happy birthday” is good, if the site reveals birthdays. Don’t, though, make it all about you — that is, don’t post a message to everyone in your list every time you update a picture, go to work, or leave your house. (You laugh — I’ve had friends that did this!)
  8. Have something to say: Let people know why you’re there, what your purpose is, and what makes you, you. Give people a reason to pay attention to you. Although most people in your circle will stay in your circle indefinitely if you don’t do anything at all, having connections because they’ve forgotten you’re there is hardly the best use of a social network! Post something to your front page, blog, wall, or whatever it is every now and then, so that people learn something about you.
  9. Avoid clutter: Remember when MySpace pages were awful and Facebook pages were clean and simple. No more — now it takes about 8 minutes for your profile anywhere to get covered with junk. If your page is so full of junk that nobody can tell anything important about you, you might as well not have a page. Limit yourself to only 3 or 4 extras, and either stick with the default theme or try to find one that’s clean and simple.
  10. Firewall your personal with business lives: This might not apply to everyone, but for most people, once you’ve decided to use a social networking site for business purposes, don’t use it at all for non-business communication — and vice versa. Remember that the story about you, the goat, and the magnum of champagne is going out to everyone you’ve allowed to see your profile. That’s not something you want to share with potential business partners. If necessary, create two profiles on the same site, one for your business persona, the other for your personal life; instead of denying friend requests from friends and family, you can just refer them to the other profile.

Social networking sites have a reputation as being huge time wasters, and for most people, they are. If you can afford that luxury, more power to you; for the rest of you, really think about what social networking can do for you and focus your energies to making that work.

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Last Updated on January 16, 2020

12 Simple Ways to Boost Your Confidence Right Now

12 Simple Ways to Boost Your Confidence Right Now

The way you feel about yourself greatly influences how you live and interact with others. If you are confident about yourself, you tend to see yourself positively and actually enjoy spending time with and around people. You don’t feel self-conscious or awkward around others, and that allows you to live your fullest and happiest life.

However, if you’re drowning in a sea of self-doubt, hesitancy and shyness, you often withdraw and isolate yourself from others and avoid interacting and connecting with people. That anxiety you feel in the pit of your stomach when you are around people is holding you back greatly and it is not good for your emotional health and overall well-being. You need to do something about it if you are low in self-confidence or have friends or family members who are not confident.

“Confidence isn’t walking into a room thinking you’re better than everyone, it’s walking in not having to compare yourself to anyone” – Anonymous

Here are simple, practical tips to boost your confidence right now and make you feel and act your best.

1. Stop labeling yourself as awkward, timid or shy.

When you label yourself as awkward, timid or shy, you sub-consciously tell your mind to act accordingly and psychologically feel inclined to live up to those expectations. Instead of labeling and entertaining negative self-talk, visualize and affirm yourself as confident and strong. Close your eyes for a minute and visualize yourself in different situation as you would like to be.

Be your own cheerleader. Experts believe that positive affirmation and good mental practices like picturing yourself winning or achieving a goal can lead to greater feelings of self-assurance and prepare your brain for success.[1] As the saying goes, “seeing is believing.” Picture yourself as confident and soon enough you will begin to manifest behavior that gives evidence to this new ‘fact.’

2. Recognize that the world is not focused on you (unless, of course, you are Kanye West).

That means you don’t have to be excessively sensitive about who you are or what you are doing (or not doing). You are not on the center stage; there is no need for preoccupation with self and perfectionism. As rap music star Rocko sings, “You just do you and I will do me, aight?”

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Forget about trying to please everyone or being perfect. Trying to be perfect and being a people-pleaser puts too much pressure on you and creates unnecessary anxiety. Besides, people are too preoccupied with their own issues to pay much attention to your every move unless, of course, you are a mega famous, super celebrity like Beyonce or Kanye West.

3. Focus on other people as opposed to yourself.

If you are low on confidence, self-conscious, nervous and shy in social situations, focus your attention on other people and what they are saying or doing instead of focusing on your own awkwardness.

For example, think about what it is that is interesting about the person who’s the centre of the party or the guy or girl you are talking with. Prompt them to talk more about themselves and be genuinely curious and interested in what they say. You will instantly come across as confident and warmhearted.

People generally want to talk about themselves, be heard and understood. They will love it when you’re eager and willing to listen to them and really hear what they have to say.

This habit of focusing more on what you love in others as opposed to what you dislike in yourself will not only help you become more assertive and comfortable in virtually all social situations, but also instantly make you feel great about yourself.

4. Know (and accept) yourself for who you are.

Chinese military general, strategist and philosopher Sun Tzu, author of the internationally acclaimed book The Art of War, said, “Know yourself and you will win all battles.” Even in the battle with lack of confidence, you will need to know yourself to win.

Knowing yourself starts with understanding that people are not all the same, neither are all social situation suitable for everyone. You might not be confident in large gatherings, but you could be bold and confident in one-on-one and small group interactions. We all have our own unique gifts and unique ways of expressing ourselves. Embrace yours!

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Introverts, for example, have a quiet confidence that is, unfortunately, often confused for shyness. They are naturally low key and prefer to spend time alone. However, this natural disposition affords them certain unique gifts, such as an ability to listen better than most people and notice things that others don’t.

Your uniqueness is where your strength and advantage lies. You won’t be comfortable and confident in all situations all the time. Albert Einstein said,

“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”

5. Crack a smile.

If there is one sure way to instantly boost your confidence, it’s cracking a smile. Christine Clapp, a public speaking expert at The George Washington University, says that flashing those pretty, pearly white teeth will immediately make you appear both confident and composed. But, the effect of smiling is not just external. Studies show that smiling can also help nix feelings of stress and pave the way for a happier and more relaxed you.[2]

Not a bad return for something seemingly so trite, wouldn’t you agree?

6. Break a sweat—with exercise.

Working out is another great way to make yourself feel amazing and confident. Science has shown that exercising increases your endorphins, helps reduce stress, tones your muscles and makes you feel happy and confident.[3]

And hey, all you have to do is take a walk a few times a week and you’ll see the benefits. What seems to matter—as far as your confidence goes—is whether you break a sweat, not how strenuous your session is, which is pretty cool. Start working out now.

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7. Groom yourself.

This might seem mundane, but it’s amazing how much of a difference a shower and shave can have on your confidence and self-image. And when you spritz on a scent, the boost on confidence and self-esteem is incredible. As it turns out, your favorite fragrance does more than make you smell oh-so-nice.

A study found that a fragrance can inspire confidence in men. Interestingly, the study also found that the more a man likes the fragrance, the more confident he might feel. Another study found that 90% of women feel more confident while wearing a scent than those who go fragrance-free.

8. Dress nicely.

Another one that might seem trite, but it works. If you dress nicely, you’ll instantly feel good about yourself and give your confidence a real boost. That is largely because you’ll feel attractive, presentable and sometimes even successful in nice clothes.

While dressing nicely means something different for everyone, it does not necessarily mean wearing $500 designer outfits. It means wearing clothes that are clean, that you are comfortable in and that are nice-looking and presentable, including casual clothes.

9. Do activities you enjoy.

Whether it is reading a book, playing a musical instrument, riding your bicycle or going fishing, do what you really enjoy and what makes you truly happy often. It will boost your self-esteem, soothe your ego and allow you to identify with your gifts and talents. That will in turn bolster your self-belief and grow your confidence exponentially.

You might not become popular for doing what you love, but you might not even want to be popular at all. Being popular doesn’t make you happy; doing what you love does.

10. Prepare for the possibility of rejection / setback.

Late World No. 1 professional tennis player Arthur Ashe said, “One important key to success is self-confidence. A key to self-confidence is preparation.” You need to prepare for the possibility of rejection and setback.

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Why?

Everybody suffers rejection and setback at one point or another. You are not exempted. The question on your mind, therefore, should not be if you will be rejected, but how you will handle rejection when it comes.

Prepare yourself adequately in every situation to minimize the risk and effect of rejection and so that your confidence is not broken. For example, learn public speaking and rehearse what you are going to say beforehand if you have landed a public speaking engagement. That way, you are sure of yourself and confident you have what it takes to hack it. If you are rejected, don’t take it personally.

Rejection and setbacks happen to the best of us. Take it as a learning experience. Learn from your mistakes and move on.

11. Face uncomfortable situations square in the face.

Don’t run away from uncomfortable situations. Running away from people or situations because you feel scared, shy or timid only confirms and reinforces your shyness. Instead, face the situation that makes you uneasy square in the face. For example, go ahead and talk to that person you are afraid to approach, or go straight to the front of your yoga class! What’s the worst that can happen?

Prepare and be ready for any eventuality. The more you face your fears, the more you realize you are stronger than you thought and the more confident you get. This simple, yet admittedly courageous, act makes you unstoppable. You get comfortable being uncomfortable and begin to feel like you can take on the world. And that is the hallmark of someone destined for great things.

12. Sit up straight and walk tall—you are awesome!

Yes, sit up straight and believe you are awesome. Don’t slump in your chair or slouch your shoulders. Experts say the right stance can not only keep your self-esteem and mood lifted, but also lead to more confidence in your own thoughts.[4]

The way to sit is to open up your chest and keep your head level so that you look and feel poised and assured. And when you get up, stand tall and walk like you’re on a mission. People who sit up straight and walk tall are more attractive and instantly feel more confident. Try it now: you’ll feel fierce and confident just by sitting up straight and walking tall.

Featured photo credit: Freshh Connection via unsplash.com

Reference

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