Many find the concept of networking a daunting process. Despite the numerous advantages of attending a networking event, establishing a relationship with complete strangers and beginning a conversation about yourself and your business – with confidence – is all too commonly shied away from, and it’s easy to understand why.
Nevertheless, it is important to overcome such fears as networking is such an essential tool for entrepreneurs.
So how do you overcome the urge to stay in bed?
1.Create a plan.
Contact the networking event organiser a few days prior to the event and ask him or her who you should make a beeline for based on your business objectives. Enquire if the organiser can introduce you / put you in contact with those people ahead of the event through email or social media. This way, on the day of the event, you will already know who to specifically talk to. This will help your confidence as you will already have introduced yourself. Moreover, your business will benefit as you will only be talking to people who can specifically aid your career plan.
2. Use your current network.
You probably don’t realise, but your friends and family are part of your network. These people can more often than not, help you solve your business issues and connections. For instance, if you need help finding new connections, talk to the people you trust – your friends and family – to introduce you to any of their connections who may be relevant to your business. A simple introduction is all you need to lay the foundations for growing a new network.
3. Remember to choose quality over quantity.
It is far better to have a small network where you know everyone personally and vice versa, rather than have a huge network full of people that you barely know. The key to building long-lasting connections is creating a personal relationship with clients as this builds an element of trust – something that they will continue to use you for. Without good client relationships, you will not be able to maintain a personal network at your disposal.
What methods do you use to fight networking fear?