Last week I talked about negative thoughts that can hinder your networking success. These thoughts are the result of conditioning and can influence your networking effectiveness without you even realizing it. Here is an overview of five types of conditioning, as outlined by Debra Fisher, author of “People Power,” and an invitation to look at them in a different way.

  1. Don’t talk to strangers. This is wise advice for a child who doesn’t know how to make the distinction between right or wrong. But for an adult, the situation is different. Talking to people you haven’t met before opens the doors to a wide variety of opportunities.
  2. Be strong. Some people think being strong means not asking for help, doing everything on their own and being other people’s savior or hero. But being strong really means knowing what you want and asking others to help you reach your goals.
  3. Be a big boy, or be a big girl. Too many people confuse being childlike–and being play and joyful–with being childish. The enthusiasm of a child is a great character trait at any age.
  4. You can’t trust others. A life of not trusting is not much of a life. Learn to bring people who are worthy of your trust into your network and be trustworthy yourself.
  5. Don’t bother people. If you were ever told this, it may have been internalized as “you are a bother,” “what you want is not important,” or “others are more important.” But people are only a bother when they are selfish or inappropriate with their words, timing, actions or behaviors. It’s OK to call on people, especially when you can call on them in such a way that they feel acknowledged and included.

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Jan Vermeiren is the founder of Networking Coach, author of the bestsellers “Let’s Connect!” and “How to REALLY use LinkedIn” and a well-known international speaker about online and offline networking and referrals. Together with his team at Networking Coach team, he works for international companies, such as Alcatel, Deloitte, IBM, ING and Nike. For more information, go to his blog at http://www.janvermeiren.com/. To get your free light version of the book “How to REALLY use LinkedIn,” go to www.how-to-really-use-linkedin.com.