Networking can be an intimidating experience, especially if you’re new to it. The thought of approaching strangers, engaging in conversations, and promoting yourself can feel uncomfortable. But fear not! We are here to help you overcome those networking jitters and embrace the power of connections.
Acknowledge and Embrace Your Fears
First and foremost, understand that it’s completely normal to feel nervous about networking. Everyone has been in your shoes at some point. Acknowledge your fears, whether it’s fear of rejection, feeling inadequate, or being judged. Embrace these emotions and remind yourself that growth often happens outside of your comfort zone.
Prepare and Practice
One effective way to overcome networking fears is through preparation. Before attending an event, research the attendees, the purpose of the event, and possible conversation starters. Have an elevator pitch ready. This is normally a 30 – 60 second speech you give introducing yourself and what you do in a concise and engaging manner. Practice it in front of a mirror or with a friend to boost your confidence.
Start Small and Gradually Expand
If the idea of walking into a room full of strangers seems overwhelming, start small. Begin with smaller, more intimate networking events or one-on-one meetings. This will allow you to ease into networking, build your confidence, and develop conversational skills. As you become more comfortable, gradually expand your networking efforts to larger events.
Find Common Ground
Approaching someone new can be nerve-wracking. Remember that networking is about building connections, not selling yourself. Break the ice by finding common ground or shared interests. Look for cues in their conversations or their attire that can spark a meaningful discussion. Genuine connections often start with shared experiences.
Be a Curious Listener
Shift your focus from self-consciousness to genuine curiosity. Instead of worrying about what to say next, actively listen to the other person. Ask open-ended questions, show genuine interest in their stories, and be present in the conversation. Not only does this alleviate pressure, but it also helps you establish deeper connections with others.
Set Realistic Expectations
Don’t put unnecessary pressure on yourself to achieve immediate results. Networking is a long-term investment. Set realistic expectations and view each interaction as an opportunity to learn and grow. Remember, building relationships takes time, and it’s the quality of connections that matters most.
Attend Networking Events with a Buddy
If you feel more comfortable with a familiar face, consider attending networking events with a friend or colleague. Having someone you know by your side can provide a sense of support and make it easier to approach new people. Just remember to venture out on your own occasionally to broaden your networking circle.
Celebrate Small Wins
Networking can be challenging, so celebrate each small win along the way. Recognise and reward yourself for stepping out of your comfort zone, initiating conversations, and making meaningful connections. Celebrating your achievements will boost your confidence and make networking a more positive experience.
Overcoming networking jitters is a gradual process that requires patience and practice. By practising some, or all of the above, you can conquer your networking fears and unlock a world of opportunities. Remember, every connection you make brings you one step closer to personal and professional growth. So, take a deep breath, step out there, and embrace the power of networking with newfound confidence.
If you are new to networking, but nervous about attending one of our events, feel free to contact us at email@example.com and we can run through what to expect and how many people will be in attendance. We can also ‘meet and greet’ you as you arrive and introduce you to other attendees. Our future events can be found here: https://derbyhub.co.uk/events/ so why not give it a go? We’d love to see you there.