This week I want to cover several points about ‘Overcoming the Fear of Networking’.
By practising some simple effective communication skills you will be able network with ease and make the experience more enjoyable.
I often meet people who are very nervous when going to networking events. I suppose most of us were nervous at our first few networking events but we soon realised that it is not as bad as we thought it would be. One very important thought to remember is that if people are out networking they are ‘usually’ going to be friendly and welcoming (or they should be).
People are now realising 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.
More and more people are networking. If you don’t learn how to network, you will be left behind and miss out on a lot of business. When you get to a stage where you can relax with your networking, it becomes very enjoyable and you look forward to every event.
Overcoming Networking Fears
I believe there are some very simple points to remember when you are going to your first network meetings or visiting a new group:
- Remember to use good communication skills – good eye contact; give the other person your attention when you are chatting- listen to them and appear interested in what they are saying
- Have a goal to meet a certain number of new people at each meeting (and this number should not be too many). You may be attending a networking event that has a large number of 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.
- Try to appear relaxed and easy going. People wish to be around others who are ‘easy to be with’. Be comfortable to be with.
- Do not be a know it all or egotistical. When networking you need to use the 80/20 rule – listen for 80% of the time and talk for 20% of the time and this especially applies when talking about yourself. A good way to make this happens is to start off by asking the other person a question. You should tell others about what your business is and what you do but do not overdo it.
- Try to be interesting so people will get something of value by associating with you.
- Practice liking people.
- Give recognition and congratulations for achievements and remember to edify others where appropriate.
I hope these few points help when you go out to your networking events.
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