If You’re Nervous About Networking, Here’s Some Help
Networking is one of the best ways to connect with people to help grow your business or to try to find a new job. But, networking can be intimidating – trying to strike up a conversation with a stranger isn’t always easy. If you’re nervous about networking, here are some tips to help get you over the hump, according to LinkedIn.
- The Early Bird…
Arriving early at a networking event can be beneficial. Before groups start forming to chat, early arrivals can get the jump on seeking out people to strike up a conversation. Trying to mosey into a group conversation can be stressful.
- Have an Elevator Pitch
This is a short statement to a person about you and or your company. It should be no longer than 20 or 30 seconds. Describe what your business does and be specific to a particular product, solution or service it offers. Make your business stand out.
- Seek Out a Stag
If you see someone standing by themselves, go over and introduce yourself. Most likely, that person is as anxious as you are. Ask the person their name and profession. And, take it from there.
- Ask Open Questions
LinkedIn suggests asking open questions that don’t require a yes or no answer. This makes it easier to expand the conversation. When people are talking to you, make sure you listen and show them that you are interested in what they are talking about.
- Join a Group
Don’t be afraid to join a group conversation. You may find it easier to join in if just two or three people are chatting. Don’t barge in – ask them if they mind you joining. Listen to the conversation and join in when appropriate. Don’t try to take over the conversation.
- A Familiar Face
Try to attend a networking event where someone you know will be there. It’s so much easier chat with a familiar person to put you at ease and boost your confidence. From there, you can fan out and seek others to talk with.
- Don’t Have High Expectations
You can make yourself less anxious by not expecting to hit a jackpot of connections at any given networking event. Just try to talk with as many people you can or as many you feel comfortable. Give out your business cards. If you hear back from just one person, consider it a success. If you hear from no one, don’t let it get you down. You at least gained experience and confidence from the event.
Don’t be afraid to follow up with people you met the day after the event. Look over their business cards and contact the ones that are of interest to you. Send an email or call them. It could be the beginning of a new relationship.
Don’t let anxiety stand in the way of trying to grow your business through networking. If you’re nervous about networking, following these tips will give you more confidence and get you noticed. The more networking events you attend, the better you will get!