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From Surviving to Thriving Through Networking

From Surviving to Thriving Through Networking

Gayle and Judy at Work the Pond recently asked Marie-Josée to suggest a few tips for their Positive Networking® Blog.

Their blog is a great resource for ideas on how to actually enjoy and get something concrete out of your networking events – don’t we all need a little bit of their wisdom? 😉

Here is what she contributed to them:

  1. Focus on your out breath. Breathing out activates the parasympathetic nervous system, or the body’s relaxation response. In fact, when we tell someone to “take a deep breath”, we really should be asking them to “push a deep breath [out]”.
  2. Hang out with people who smile the most. Thanks to the brain’s mirror cells, emotions are highly contagious. Here’s how it works: when we see others smile, our mirror cells pick up on their emotions, and without noticing we smile with them – like we are echoing their emotion. Our brains then interpret our smiling as meaning that we feel good, which in turns contributes to getting us out of survival mode. The same is true of negative emotions by the way, so paying close attention to the energy you surround yourself with can really impact how you feel during your networking.
  3. Focus on the other person. That’s the best way to step away from your own stress, and create a genuine connection. When two people connect meaningfully and start to trust one another, their bodies slow down the production of stress hormones and replace it with feel-good hormones like serotonin and oxytocin. This hormonal change helps them feel warmer and more secure, thus getting them out of survival mode.’
  4. Offer your help. According to Founder of Positive Psychology Dr. Martin Seligman, doing something kind for someone else is one of the best mood boosters ever tested. It will help you bond with a new person, make you feel good about yourself, and chances are they will want to reciprocate – all of which will propel you in performance mode.
  5. Put your phone down! First and foremost, texting and taking phone calls between two handshakes is rude, and it makes you look like you are trying too hard, you are not in control of your agenda, or your priorities aren’t straight. But equally important, the extra multi-tasking is an additional stress that you don’t need, and that prevents you from doing #1, 2, 3 and 4 above well.

If you’d like to know more about that last point, check out One Thing at a Time on p. 170 of our book.

And if you’d like to see an example of whether this positive networking stuff really works, check out Gayle and Judy’s post on how their warm and collaborative relationship with Marie-Josée evolved from a quick hello.

MJ Shaar – in 20 seconds


MJ is one of the most sought-after experts blending positive psychology and health promotion. She spent over 15 years coaching, teaching, speaking, researching and testing smart health habits. Marie-Josée Shaar received her undergrad at McGill University in Organizational Behavior, followed by a Master of Applied Positive Psychology at University of Pennsylvania. She's certified as a Wellness Culture Coach, a Personal Trainer, and a Nutrition and Wellness Consultant.

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