Overcoming the Fear of Networking

Are you nervous when it comes to networking? If you are, you are not alone.

Many people feel very nervous when they first start attending networking events and some also feel nervous even if they have been networking for years. There are some simple steps that you can take to help you to feel more at ease and reap the benefits of networking.

It is a well-known fact that networking is the most effective form of advertising. People want to do business with people, not with a business name or brand. Networking with other people is far more cost-effective than other forms of marketing.

It is not always just as simple as booking into a networking event and going along. If you do not take the time to learn how to network effectively, you may be left behind and miss out on a lot of business.

With practising some of these simple steps listed below, you too will get to the stage where you can relax, enjoy your networking and you look forward to every event.

  • Be patient with others- Remember, if people are out networking they are ‘usually’ going to be friendly and welcoming (or they should be). It should be everyone’s intention, at a networking event, to be friendly and supportive, to ultimately develop a good business relationship with others. Often though, other people are also feeling nervous or shy, and this can cause them to give others the wrong impression as if they are not friendly. You may be surprised how many other people may be feeling just as nervous as you are at events.

However, if you come across someone who is not friendly and you cannot build any rapport with them, then they probably are not the type of person you should be doing business with.

  • Consider how you are communicating with others – Do you have good eye contact, and do you give the other person your attention when you are chatting. It is important to listen to them and appear interested in what they are saying.
  • Set a goal of how many people you wish to connect with at the event even before you arrive. This number should not be too many. You may be attending a networking event where there are many people present but you would not benefit from trying to make contact with all or most of them. It is far more beneficial to meet and chat with a small number of those people and build rapport with them.
  • Be positive and try to appear relaxed and easy going. People wish to be around others who are ‘easy to be with’. Be comfortable to be with.
  • Listen more and talk less, even if you are feeling very nervous. When networking you need to use the 80/20 rule – listen for 80% of the time and talk for 20% of the time and especially when talking about yourself. Start off by asking others about themselves and their business.
  • Be interesting and be interested in others. There is nothing worse than being at a networking event, having to listen to someone talk endlessly about themselves or a topic that no one else is interested in. Don’t be that person because others will eventually learn to ‘avoid’ talking to you at networking events.
  • Edify others– if someone tells you about their achievements, firstly make sure you congratulate them. Then if the situation arises where you can tell someone else about these achievements, be sure to do so. By edifying others, this shows that you understand the importance of edifying others.

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