When stress takes your life hostage, you may lose that valuable networking traction.
You walk, you talk, you interact, but there's something missing. You may not even be able to detect that there is a disconnect, but others are able to sense it.
Have you ever had a conversation with someone whose attention was elsewhere? You know when his/her mind has drifted off to some distant island of thought; when they are no longer connecting with you. It's not very satisfying, is it? In business, it could sound the death knell for what might otherwise be a great collaboration.
One of the many benefits of learning to undress your stress is that you become present. Your attention is on the one you're with; you're not looking over his/her shoulder to see who "better" to speak with (future) or not silently rehashing that argument you had earlier in the day (past). You are engaged. You listen. You learn the name of the person you are speaking with and remember the details from the conversation. Then at the next networking event you are able to augment the rapport you built, simply because you cared enough to remember.
This is a skill that can be practiced. It's not enough to tell you to pay attention to the one you are with, mainly because stress has a way of pushing its way to the forefront; to the exclusion of other more important things you want or need to do. The more you balance your nervous system, the more able you are to be present. It's a process - one that is both pleasurable and rewarding.
How do you feel when someone gives you their full attention during a networking event? How has this impacted your relationship?