Networking is simply starting a conversation with no destination in mind” – Kathryn Crawford Wheat.
So why is it that so many of us cringe at the thought of it?
Well, it can be quite daunting to walk into a full room, especially if you don’t know anyone. If you’re more of an introvert, you might start to worry about who’s conversation to join, or if you’re welcome to do so. (You could always take our Communication Style Quiz to find out for sure).
The chances are, you’re not the only one in the room to feel this way. I’d recommend making a beeline for that person in the corner who’s pretending to look at their phone. Or, if you are that person, head towards a group of three. If one of them hasn’t spoken, the chances are they’re either just trying to look busy too, or they already know each other.
As odd as it sounds, everyone is in the same boat. (For the most part) people go to a networking event and don’t know anyone in the room, that’s what encourages you to make new contacts. The people in the room are looking to make conversation, they won’t bite your head off for saying hello!
If you really struggle to join the crowd, you might find it easier to be one of the first to turn up. If you’re one of the first people in a room, people will have to talk to you! You could also join the coffee queue and strike up a conversation whilst you wait, you’re pretty much guaranteed to need to queue for something!
Perhaps the most daunting part of any networking session is when it’s your turn to stand up and introduce yourself to the room. Do you know what to say? What if you mumble? What’s your name again? Take a deep breath and stand up straight. Everyone else has either managed it or will have to.
You aren’t being singled out.
Start with the basics; your name, where you work and why you’re looking to network/who you’d like to meet. (Top tip: If you don’t know why you’re networking- maybe you’ve been sent by your boss, just say you’re looking to meet new people and give an idea of some relevant industries).
Don’t enjoy networking? Have a look at our Networking Made Simple programme
Your shortcut to:
- Create a networking strategy for you and your business
- Walk into a room without showing your nerves
- Network confidently and effectively
- Build a network of supporters, advocates and clients
… so that you can develop business effortlessly and easily.
For more top tips on how to build confidence and how to create your all-important minute, take a look at our Magical Minutes workshop!