10 Ways to Overcome a Fear of Networking
Preparation is key when it comes to being a confident networker.
Networking is an essential part of any job. It can help us to make important connections and to discover new opportunities. But, it can be difficult to overcome networking nerves. So, here's 10 tips that can help...
- Be selective. You don't need to go to every event or speak to everyone. Instead, focus on meeting the right people, at the right time and place.
- Do your homework. Get a list of event attendees and focus on the ones you'd most like to meet. Research their interests and careers, and connect with them on social media.
- Set goals. Why do you want to network? Is there a specific person you want to meet? Or, do you want to learn more about an industry sector or product?
- Consider conversation. Become an expert in small talk by preparing an informal opener and some questions. And don't forget to listen carefully to the answers!
- Arrive early. Find yourself a good place to talk, go over your opening lines, and catch up with the organizers and other early arrivals.
- Take a friend. Taking a buddy can help break the ice with strangers, and may widen your circle of potential connections.
- Send the right signals. Fear can come through in our body language. Be relaxed but alert, and remember to smile!
- Be realistic. Networking isn't a one-way street. Don't feel pressured to fill every gap in the conversation, or to act inauthentically.
- Take a break. Networking events can be draining. So, be sure to take a time out when you feel your energy dipping.
- Know when to call time. Don't drag out conversations. Instead, aim for short chats that leave a positive and lasting impression.
To learn more about overcoming a fear of networking, read the article here.