We’ve established what networking is and why you should do it, but that doesn’t make it any less daunting! We want to help you overcome your networking fears so you can walk into any room ready to exchange advice with other businesses and expand your contact book with your networking nerves a thing of the past! Here are our top tips.
- Know your value
You believed in yourself enough to set up your business but conveying this confidence in a room full of people you don’t know is a different story. Spend time assessing your value, reminding yourself of those unique skills you hold which support the success of your business and how they could help others. In addition to your 60 second introduction, choose three successes to focus on during the event and you’ll soon find you’ll be able to contribute to discussions and offer up advice based upon these experiences. Don’t dismiss your failures either – other attendees will most likely have been in the same boat and will have handled them differently.
- Be confident with your introduction
Being the one to break the ice is a simple way to make a great impression, making you appear confident even if you feel the total opposite. The likelihood is you’ll have done that person a massive favour by striking up a conversation and helping them feel less out of place. Over time your confidence will increase which will do wonders for your networking success.
- Ask leading questions
To get the best out of networking, think of your interactions as conversations with people you may meet in a more familiar setting such as the pub. The more real you are, the more you likely to get something useful from the event. Think about what you might like to be asked: “What are the main challenges / successes at the moment? Is there anything I could do to help you? What do you hope to get from networking?” An intentional but relaxed approached will lead to more meaningful discussions.
- Be a good listener and try to help
Listening is a crucial skill to develop when at a networking event. It’ll enable you to ask appropriate follow-up questions, which will in turn to help you gain a better understanding about the person you’re speaking to and their business. People will get to know you’re a good listener and will do the same for you – this could be vital when you’re asking for help with a problem later down the line.
- Practice makes perfect
Networking gets easier the more you do it, so the key is to just keep at it. Of course, be selective in the events you choose to attend, but don’t fall into the habit of not networking as those fears will quickly come creeping back in. After a few events you’ll soon find your own rhythm plus you’ll begin to see familiar faces at events, creating a bit of a comfort zone and making it a bit less daunting!
Do you think you’re ready to give networking a go? We’d love to welcome you to our networking community, we focus on creating a professional and welcoming environment to help banish those networking fears! See you at the next event?