Even If you like it or not, everyone must hustle. So, do you know, no matter your personality, networking can be nerve wrecking. It involves going out to meet complete strangers and trying to form a bond with them in a short period of time. It also involves describing yourself and what you do which let’s be honest most of us find very difficult.
But what everyone needs to know is this networking is a crucial part of career growth and job search. This means like it or not you have to network. So how do you get over your fear of networking and gain connections that will help boost your career?
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1. Start small
In some instances, people are thrown into the swimming pool without any warning or help as a way of teaching them to swim. For some this works because survival instincts kick in, however, when it comes to networking diving in head first by attending large networking events will not help you conquer your fear.
You need to start by attending small networking events with a few people as well as even connecting with people online on sites like LinkedIn.
2. It’s all about connecting and preparation
Never go into a networking event blind. Try and find out as much as possible about who will be in attendance and prepare some conversation points in advance. This will ensure that you don’t lack something to say when you do meet people you want to add to your network.
Being well prepared will give you more confidence which will go a long way in helping you get over your fear.
3. We’re all in it together
Don’t worry you are not alone. Yes there are people who love networking and don’t cower at the thought of attending these seminars and events, but a majority of people will.
So the next time you attend a networking event, try looking around the room and find someone who seems just as nervous, go up to them and strike up a conversation.
You will become more confident when you realize you are not the only one who is nervous and this will help humanize everyone else and make the process of approaching someone much easier.
Your approach doesn’t have to be anything fancy you can just start by introducing yourself and let the conversation progress from there.
4. Bring a friend
If you are like me then you are one of those people who feel more confident when there is someone you know personally in a room full of strangers. This is why when all else fails you can bring your friend to the networking event.
If you do decide to bring a friend along, you need to ensure that you don’t spend all evening talking to them. They are just there for moral support as well as getting the opportunity to network as well.
You can spend the first few minutes getting to know the room but after that spend at least an hour mingling with other people. This will ensure you get to meet new people and don’t end up wasting a whole evening just talking to your friend.
The worst that can happen at a networking event is you end up in awkward conversations this means that there really is no excuse to avoid networking.
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The goal of networking is to meet people who can help you in your career, but it is important to remember that it is a give and take therefore you need to also be willing to help others