Are you nervous about networking?
Are you nervous about networking? You know what? Many people, if not most people get nervous about networking when they first try it.
Networking is an immensely valuable and profitable business tool – but I completely get that many people find it really nerve-wracking and, for some people, this puts them off going altogether.
I made a decision a few years ago, that if I was going to be successful in business, or indeed anything, that I would need to get over myself. One of the things that I had to get over was my nerves around networking.
Here are five tips and notes that, I hope will help you. If you’re still nervous, @ me on Twitter – @NoRedBraces and ask me specifically what’s making you nervous, I’ll try my best to help.
1. Take a buddy to your first networking event. You might know someone else who already goes networking, or just someone who might also like to come to the first event with you. If that doesn’t work, find out who organises the event, or one of the members, and ‘phone them in advance. The very fact that you will know someone else there will make a massive difference to how you feel.
2. Know that a load of people at any event are nervous. Even old hands at networking sometimes get nervous. That’s cool. There’s a lot of stuff in business that takes me out of my comfort zone. If I wanted to stay in my comfort zone I would never have gone into business for myself. You’re not alone. You’re not the only person who is nervous. Just knowing this helps me a lot.
3. At any networking event you are going to need an introduction, 40 seconds at 4Networking. It is well worth planning and rehearsing this, whether you believe you are nervous or not. Write it down, time yourself saying it, have the written down version with you so that you don’t have to ‘wing it’ on the day.
4. The 40 seconds round is 40 seconds out of a two hour event. The rest of it is just chatting to other people or listening to other people. As a percentage that means that your 40 second introduction is going to be less than 1% of the whole event. Put it into perspective.
5. You know what’s lovely about business owners and self employed people? They want everyone else to succeed too. When you first attend a networking event the other people in the room will want you to join, so that you become part of their network and will want you to success as the more successful the members of any network are the better. Feel that energy – a whole load of people you’ve only just met willing you to succeed and, in a lot of cases, probably able to help you to succeed to.