Networking is never an easy thing and could be easily something that is feared. The fear of feeling out of place or awkward around people you don’t know well. The fear of not having anyone approach you. And lastly, the fear of embarrassing yourself in front of professional contacts is not something you are looking forward to.
Being an introverted person, I can understand these fears because I have had them myself. Happily, I can say, these fears can be dealt with and they can become irrelevant in your networking journey.
Bring a Friend: Bringing someone you know will help to make you comfortable, they could help to start the conservation with new people, and if anything else, they would make sure that you are not by yourself.
Research the Crowd: In the case of meetup groups or Eventbrite events, you can see a listing of people who will be attending any given event. In both of those cases, you can look at the profile of the attendees and get an idea what commonalities you may have or what you can talk about.
Shake Hands: Many people try to avoid shaking hands due to the possible exchange of viruses and bacteria. A good handshake can say a lot about a person. Different studies have revealed that a handshake can give the impression of a sociable personality, it is related to extraversion and emotional expressiveness and is inversely related to shyness and neuroticism.
Just Do It: Just get out and go to an event. People go to mixers and networking events to meet new people. If someone sees you standing by yourself, it is very likely that someone will walk over to you and strike up a conversation with you.
Did you have to get over any nerves or discomfort before your first networking events? What did you do to get over any issues?
Have an awesome week and happy networking!
Kevin MacDonald is the CEO of L6S Business Consulting Inc. L6S offers services in management consulting, Controller and CFO contracting, and lean management with either project work or teaching/mentoring of staff. Kevin has his CMA accounting designation along with a Black Belt in Lean Six Sigma.
Kevin is active in the community by volunteering for different groups, his condo board and donates platelets at the Canadian Blood Services clinics on a bi-weekly basis.
Photo Credit: Fruitnet.com