Does the thought of entering a crowded room filled with strangers give you anxiety? Does it make you feel overwhelmed?
Networking is a fear many people share. Some would even say it’s one of the scariest steps of finding a job. Whether it’s getting freaked out by small talk or the fear of forgetting someone’s name, networking can be a scary thing to do.
If you’re feeling spooked by networking, here are some tips that can help you become a fearless networker:
Attend fun networking events.
Consider attending networking events with a few friends such as happy hours hosted by professional organizations in your city, going to an alumni mixer, or getting involved with volunteering opportunities. These are some fun ways to meet new people without having to stress about networking.
Host your own networking event.
Can’t find a networking event that fits your needs? Why not host your own?
Hosting your own networking is quite simple. Find a location in your city such as a local coffee shop or restaurant and invite 10 of your colleagues to attend. This is a casual way to get a group of people together to mingle in a relaxed environment and you won’t have to worry if you will know anyone or not since you’ll be the one inviting people!
Use the magic of Twitter.
If you’re not ready to go to in-person networking events, Twitter can be a great resource for connecting with people in your industry!
Use Twitter to participate in industry Twitter chats, search for professionals in your area, and coordinate a meet-up. Twitter can also be used to share industry-related content and engage in conversations with people in your social network. By using Twitter, you’ll connect with more people all over the world in your industry that you probably wouldn’t have been able to in-person.
Stop the small talk.
Instead of focusing on making small talk, shift your focus to learning about the people you meet. Spark conversations with people by asking about THEM. Ask about their jobs, what they enjoy doing for fun, or why they like their jobs. These conversations will become more meaningful, will take the pressure off of you and you’ll learn more about the people you meet!
Avoid networking events altogether.
Instead of focusing on strictly attending networking events, consider going to conferences, workshops, or speaker events where you’ll meet professionals in your industry. These events will give you opportunities to make new connections without having to directly focus on networking.
Less is more.
Take the pressure off of yourself of feeling like you need to collect 20 business cards when you go to a networking event. Instead, focus on making one or two strong bonds with the new people you meet. This relationships will become more valuable in the future.
By following these tips, networking should become less scary and more enjoyable. Remember, networking is about building valuable relationships with people who can become friends and mentors.
What are some ways you’ve overcome your fear of networking?