Tips To Get Over A Fear Of Networking
Just because you have a seemingly outgoing personality doesn’t mean that networking always comes naturally. For me, it’s similar to jumping off a cliff — if you stare over the edge too long, you will never jump.
Here are some tips that help me navigate my own hesitation to get started at networking events:
Tip #1: It might seem really straightforward, but having a glass in hand (preferably not your dominant hand that you will inevitably have to use for handshakes) makes things just a bit easier.
Tip #2: Find the people slightly at the edge of the room who are facing outward in an inviting way. These people are usually not of the run around and chat everyone up type, while also being open to what someone who is brave enough to walk over might have to say. I’ve personally found that they are the easiest to talk to.
Tip #3: Smile, don’t look at your phone (even though its a really tempting and easy way to not feel awkward when standing alone), and look approachable (try angling yourself toward the room like the person in Tip #2). You don’t always have to be the most outgoing person in the room. Often times that person will come up to you if you look open to it.
Tip #4: Go with a buddy that can do all the scouting, approaching, and introductions. Then you can just chat when the time is right.
While these tips are super simple and often common sense, I have to tell myself this every time I go to a networking event too. No matter how many I attend back-to-back. Hopefully the tips that have helped me can help you too!
I am always eager to learn other tips and tricks, so please comment with anything else you’ve tried — whether or not it succeeded.