How to Handle Rejection in Networking

“Rejection isn’t failure. Failure is giving up. Everybody gets rejected. It’s how you handle it that determines where you’ll end up.” -Richard Castle

Networking can be a rollercoaster of emotions and experiences. While it can be incredibly rewarding to connect with someone and hit if off immediately, it’s inevitable to face rejection along the way. While not as enjoyable, it’s part of the networking journey. While it’s a natural and common thing to face, but it can also surface some negative feelings about yourself. This is why today we want to talk about how to handle rejection in networking. 

  1. Don’t take it personally 

Easier said than done, right? We understand completely. Rather than stewing about why you were rejected, focus those efforts elsewhere. Remember that rejection is likely not a reflection of you, but more so on the personality, values, and needs of the other person. Take some time to feel your emotions about the experience, and then move on. We have learned in our years of experience that the more you learn to not take things personally, the better off you will be. 

  1. Don’t burn bridges 

When we are rejected, it is natural to feel angry or upset, but avoid talking negatively about the person or their business. Since networking is all about building trust and respect, you can lose future networking opportunities if you are perceived as untrustworthy. It won’t take long for others to wonder if you are speaking negatively about them too.  

Also keep in mind that just because the connection didn’t work out now doesn’t mean you won’t cross paths again. The next time you run into the individual, perhaps circumstances will be different. No matter which way it goes, remain respectful and avoid burning bridges along the way. 

  1. Stay positive 

While it is easy to dwell on the negative, you are better off remaining positive and keeping your energy focused on other relationships. Spend some time reflecting on the positive aspects of your networking efforts and remember that if one opportunity doesn’t work out, there are many more connections to be made.  

Getting a rejection is also a good learning experience. Consider assessing your networking skills and approach to see if there are changes or refinements you could make. Keep reaching out to your network, attending events, and putting yourself out there. The more you network, the more successful you will be. 

  1. Seek feedback 

Giving and receiving constructive criticism is an excellent way to learn and grow. It’s also beneficial to recognize certain things you might want to change, or that you want to keep the same. 

If you don’t wish to reach out to the rejection, speak with business connections or a trusted friend about your experience and ask for their input. Often, having another perspective can help us see the situation through different eyes, which can be a great learning opportunity. 

Networking won’t always work out how we hoped it would. However, by maintaining a positive and growth-focused mindset, you will learn to adapt to rejection and use it to improve and prosper in your future networking ventures. 

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