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Advice / Job Search / Networking

This Super Quick Mental Trick Will Help You Feel More Comfortable Meeting Strangers


Most of what you’ve heard about mindfulness is probably focused on the benefits of stress reduction, mental clarity, and emotional balance. These outcomes exist—and they’re pretty awesome—but, in my experience, they’re actually only the most immediate results.

When you explore the growing body of neuroscience and psychological research on mindfulness, it becomes clear that practicing it on a regular basis creates actual, physical changes in the brain (neuroplasticity). These changes, in turn help the brain to maintain positive emotions such as happiness, compassion, and equanimity (balance).

These emotions are contagious—seriously! Thanks to an ingenious set of brains cells called mirror neurons, when you’re feeling happy and concerned with the welfare of others, those around you pick up on those feelings, often unconsciously. This creates the conditions for building stronger relationships and trust, which increases the likelihood that you’ll achieve your desired outcomes, whatever they may be.

Too much science for you? All you really need to know is that that our brains our wired to ensure that mindfulness works!

So, how does this apply to your career?

Well, much like you might see the person who looks totally awkward and uncomfortable standing in the corner of a networking event and empathize with her; you can learn how to send out positive vibes that make others have a more favorable impression of you using the “Fare Well” technique.

The “Fare Well” mindfulness tool is very simple.

In fact, it consists of just two steps:

Step 1: Think of the individual(s) with whom you will be interacting.
Step 2: Silently express a desire for that person/persons to be happy.

Create whatever phrase feels authentic for you—the words don’t matter, for once it literally is the thought that counts! Some examples might be:

“I wish [my interviewer] well in all her affairs.”
“I hope for [my boss] to be happy.”
“May [the new, impressive person I’m introducing myself to] be successful in all her endeavors.”

Here’s a broader example: Imagine you’re going to an important networking event, have a big job interview, or need to present to a group of important clients. Feeling nervous? If you use “Fare Well” to focus that energy on someone else’s well-being, you’re no longer thinking about your own fears. This’ll help you redirect your focus when you actually encounter that person; and when it’s time for that meeting or presentation, you’ll seem more connected to him (or the audience), because you’re making a conscious effort to engage with him. This helps you come across as credible, trustworthy, and worthy of respect—all great adjectives when you’re trying to make a good impression.

Just like some people are natural test takers (and others aren’t), some people feel comfortable in social situations, and others really don’t. If you find yourself in the latter group, practicing how you’re going to feel and what you’d wish for the other person (in addition to things like what you’re going to say) will help you feel better and be better received.

So whether you’re totally into this idea, or still a little hesitant, remember this: You have nothing (nothing!) to lose by just trying it out. Worst-case scenario it doesn’t do anything for you and you wasted 30 seconds. Best case? You ace your next presentation, impress at a networking event, or kill it at your job interview.