A fear of networking is not only common, it’s normal. And why? For starters, networking forces you out of your comfort zone, requires you to make new professional connections and quickly build relationships with people you probably don’t know well or at all.
When it comes to navigating the networking process, what is your biggest fear? Showing up to an event and not knowing a single person? Or perhaps you think you lack the confidence to strike up a meaningful conversation? Are you more of an introvert? These fears are all normal, and if you can pin point where the fear is coming from then you’ll be better equipped to tackle the networking process head on.
When it comes to networking we want you to be successful, so this post will help you not only navigate the networking process, but hopefully also make it feel less intimidating! Here are three easy steps to help you do just that.
#1: Be Confident in your Value
In order to successfully and confidently network, you have to believe in your professional and personal skills. Spend some time assessing your value, the value of the company you work for and how that value translates to help others.
If you’re seeking a new job, or are currently between jobs, make sure you can speak positively to your past accomplishments. As a general rule of thumb, we like to recommend that you have at least three accomplishments (or career highlights) that you can discuss. People often attend networking events to explore their career options so there is no need to feel intimidated or worse like a failure. Believe in yourself, and what you have to offer. Additionally, approaching people you already know can help with your comfort level, and is a great opportunity to practice your conversation skills.
#2: Keep your Options Open
Networking doesn’t mean having to attend a dozen events with hundreds of people. Keep your options open! Make a point to schedule several coffees or lunches with colleagues one-on-one or in small groups. Additionally, smaller events or seminars are great to attend, and often times are more effective in establishing meaningful connections.
#3: Practice Makes Perfect
The old saying, “practice makes perfect” has a point: you can only improve if you know what to work on. Practice your elevator pitch out loud in front of a mirror. How do you come across? Are you succinct in your message? Are you smiling enough or perhaps too much? I would also encourage you to practice in front of others that you trust and ask for honest feedback.
Your network is truly one of your greatest assets, and it’s important to put yourself out there, stay in the know and build your network throughout your career. We encourage you to also remember this: you’re not selling yourself, you’re networking.
Looking for some additional tips? Or honest feedback about your skills, and how to use them to get ahead? Contact us, We’d love to help!