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Business Networking Events With Imposter Syndrome + How to Handle It


If you've ever found yourself at a professional networking event (or anywhere else for that matter) and had an internal dialogue that went something like this: "I don't belong here. These people have a lot more experience than me. There's no way I can measure up to them. I feel like a fraud." You aren't alone. Imposter syndrome is real, and it's not uncommon.

According to Psychology Today, about 70% of adults experience impostorism at least once in their lifetime. Even high achievers aren't immune! Around 25 to 30% will suffer from Imposter Syndrome. Here’s the truth about Imposter Syndrome and how to handle it when you are business networking.

What Causes Imposter Syndrome?

Personality traits and family dynamics are thought to be the drivers of Imposter Syndrome. Individuals who struggle with perfectionism, neuroticism, and self-efficacy are prone to episodes of Imposter Syndrome. Families that value achievement above all else and cultural expectations to achieve goals can also contribute.

What Triggers Imposter Syndrome?

Competitive environments, like business networking events, are a common trigger. Promotions and awards often can cause you to question your self-worth. "I don't really deserve this."

What Are the Signs of Imposter Syndrome?

Imposter syndrome comes with many different internal and external feelings and thoughts.

Internal thoughts and feelings include:

  • Fearful you will be discovered to be a fraud
  • Believing compliments and praise are because the person is being nice, not because it was earned
  • Feeling unworthy of success
  • Feeling like it was luck, not talent, that got you where you are
  • Feeling undertrained

External signs of Imposter Syndrome include:

  • Minimizing positive feedback
  • Overpreparing
  • Not trying for fear of failure


Internal Ways to Overcome Imposter Syndrome

The first step to overcoming Imposter Syndrome is to know what it is and that it isn't uncommon.

  • Practice setting realistic goals.
  • Define what success means to you without including the approval of others.
  • Don't rely exclusively on external validation as a measure of your self-worth.
  • Set limits and boundaries to avoid overworking.
  • Praise yourself for your successes and efforts, no matter how big or small.
  • Remember, nobody is perfect.
  • Share your failures
  • Establish a support system and lean on them when needed.


How to Navigate a Business Networking Event

Before you attend a business networking event, do your research on the other participants. Find common ground with them to facilitate a smoother conversation. Wear something that makes you feel confident. Don't wear uncomfortable clothes. Instead, choose something that reflects who you are and doesn't make you stand out for the wrong reasons.

Be your own cheerleader. A few weeks before the event, write down some affirmations where you are likely to see them throughout your day. Practice saying them to yourself. The best thing you can do is remember you aren't alone. There are others in the room that feel the same way you do. Lift each other up.

Join a 4BR Professional Networking Group Today!

4BR is a networking opportunity designed to support your business needs. If you're ready to join our community of professionals, find a group near you.

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