• Most women have severe low self esteem because of the question - “What do you do?” Planning a meaningful yet charismatic conversation boosts one’s self esteem.

    As we come to the end of African women’s month, I take it upon myself to share one of the many ways one can be part of a business or social network, whether employed or unemployed. This particularly takes me back to September 2015, where I was one of the speakers at the New York Forum Africa in Gabon, under the Theme: Investing in the Energy of Africa, under high patronage of H.E President Ali Bongo Ondimba.

    Our panel of speakers was discussing - “Is the African Education system broken?”, where a couple of women from the audience expressed concern that the West had colonized Africans by bringing irrelevant education. They showed that this had resulted in most women and girls having low self esteem. The main question was, “Is the education wrong or should we close gaps identified?”

    As we were pondering on this subject during networking sessions, most of us agreed that strong interpersonal and social skills were critical to boost self esteem. Among others, we picked one powerful way of having a purposeful conversation, knowing what excites you to break the ice as you start a conversation.

    Employed or not, when you plan to meet with people or attend a social function, think about a subject you care about because it will get you excited therefore boost your self-esteem. Whether work or personal, for example, if you had just completed your first 10km race, talk about it. Casually show skills you acquired to demonstrate Self-Awareness, don’t be boring!

    In his article about 7 ways to build profitable business connections without ever asking ‘What do you do?’, Sir Richard Branson’s insight number one is on asking better question, he says “When I meet people I look for any connections we have outside of work. In fact, I purposefully do not ask, “What do you do?” unless they ask me first. Of course, I’m interested but I’d much rather find out something unusual about them. One powerful question to ask is, “What are you most excited about right now?”

    You can acquire social skills through image conversation sessions with practical presentations so that you learn by doing. From those sessions, you learn the art of networking and how to introduce yourself to potential employers, business partners or mentors with confidence.

    You can turn this into a lifestyle by joining community clubs, for example, Toastmasters club, Rotary club, play soccer or selling cabbage from that small plot in your backyard, joining that church youth choir. Time and again, introspect the skills you are acquiring and what you are becoming from those activities.

    Planning a meaningful yet charismatic conversation boosts one’s self esteem. You may ignite interest which could turn into a future relationship. Employed or not, things going well or not, talk about what excites you to break the ice when starting a conversation.