4 Networking tips for people who hate networking

May 4, 2017 | Blog, Networking

Photo Credit: www.facetimenetworking.com

Photo Credit: www.facetimenetworking.com

Networking is important, but not all of us are as adept at it as others. Some relish networking events, while others dread them. If your situation is the latter, we’ve got some tips to help you out.

 

1 – Equip yourself

Make sure you have a great business card. There’s a sense of pride that comes from exchanging a business card with other professionals that will help lend you some extra confidence in a networking situation. However, don’t just rely on the card to tell someone what you’re about. Prepare a one liner that answers the inevitable first question you’ll be asked over and over again ‘So, what do you do?’. You want to be able to answer that question simply and succinctly so you’ll be remembered.

2 – Get there early

If large crowds are one of the aspects of networking that you find daunting, then get to the event early. There will be fewer people there, making it easier for you to approach them, which will ease you in for when the crowd grows. Not only that, but when the crowd does get larger, you’ll already know a few people that you can help to introduce to others, which is another great way to overcome the fear of approaching people.

3 – Listen

One of the aspects of networking that can make it so frightening for people is that you are extremely aware that you have to spend the event talking about yourself. This is not something everyone is comfortable doing and it can be difficult for many people. Yes, you do have to somewhat sell yourself, but you also have to listen properly to others and here is where you can get around the fear of self-selling. If you ask questions first and listen to what someone else has to say, it can make it a lot easier to talk about yourself. You’ll find opportunities in what they’re saying to chime in with something you have in common. For example, perhaps they’ll mention an industry they deal with, or a client they work with that you also have worked with. Taking your lead by asking questions and listening can make talking about yourself a lot easier.

4 – Write down details immediately after the event and follow up

After the event is over, you’ll want to shoot out some follow up emails to the people you met. These are most effective when they are written with specific details that show you really listened to what they had to say. A generic ‘touching base’ email will do little for you. A good idea is to write details about everyone you met on the back of their business cards. Do it as soon as the event is over (or even during) so that you don’t forget.

Networking can do wonderful things for your career but for most of us it is a skill that takes practice to get right. Get yourself out there, go to as many events as you can, and get past that fear.

 

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