19 Nov 4 Tips for Overcoming Networking Nerves
There aren’t many people who like walking into a room full of people they don’t know and having to network. Most of us feel nervous; for some it’s mildly uncomfortable whereas for others it’s excruciating and something to be avoided. The problem is avoidance can be costly and therefore it’s a skill we need to develop.
Here are some tips to help make networking significantly more comfortable:
1. Focus on the outcome – As Stephen Covey says “Great leaders always have the end in mind”. Networking is no different. Prepare and know why you’re there and what you want to achieve. Set and focus on an objective – for example, ‘I’m going to meet 5 new perspective clients”. And know the message that you want to get across.
2. Get in the right state of mind – How do you want people to see you? For example, you might want people to perceive you as confident and professional. Employing the ‘fake it, ’til you make it’ mentality whereby acting as if you are confident and professional will make you thus (be the best version of yourself). Remember research shows us that people make up their minds about us within the first 30 seconds of meeting us. So having the right attitude and mindset will help you display the behaviour you want. Remember, also, to support your mind set with how you present yourself too- ‘dress to impress’. If you feel you look good, it will help you act ‘good’. If you need more of a boost try self-talk. Sportsman use it to boost performance, so should we – “I am confident and professional” repeat outloud or in your head (I’m assuming you’ve realised that you do this is preparation and not in a crowded room?).
3. Prepare some small talk items – small talk is about breaking the ice and building rapport. Have 2 or 3 items that will have general appeal. Current affairs or hot industry topics are good.
4. Be remembered – Repeating somebody’s name in conversation is really powerful and great for introducing too. Asking open questions and listening works wonders too. Complementing or noticing something positive about someone is another ‘warmth’ winner. I’m sure you’ve got some ‘charm’ winners up your sleeve that you can add.
You’re good to go. No luck required. Do let me know how you get on.