061: 5 Tips Guaranteed to Help You in Overcoming Your Fear of Networking [Podcast]

Do you have a fear of networking? When I was in college and looking for a job, I was told networking was the key to success. So, I put on a suit and tie and headed off to a local networking event. Fear set in. On the way to the event I could hardly grip the wheel of the car from nerves and sweating hands. I was having trouble breathing – even forgetting to breath. But I made it to the event, only to find myself frozen in fear standing at the drink table right inside the door. My feet would not move any further. Fortunately, someone else was standing there. He and I connected and spoke for a few minutes. Then I realized that he too was looking for a job and struck by fear did not move either.

Overcoming the Fear of Networking

Courtesy of the flickr.com/creativecommons | Jarle Naustvik 

The fear I experienced might have been extreme for some of you, I know others can totally relate. I hear you saying “me too” as I write this. This fear of networking controlled me for years. Yet,  today I have learned how to network with great skill. Do I love networking? No. Can I do it without fear? Yes. Let me share some tips to help you overcome the fear of networking.

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5 Tips Guaranteed to Help You in Overcoming Your Fear of Networking

    1. Prepare Mentally for the Networking Event
      Take a deep breath and forget the fear for a minute. Now think about this and write down your answers.

      • What is the purpose of the event?
      • What is YOUR purpose of going ?
      • What do you hope to accomplish?
      • Who will be there?
      • Who will be there that you would like to meet?
      • Who will be there that hates it just as much as you do?
    2. Show Up Ready to Network without Fear
      • Get business cards ready.
      • Take something to make notes. (I use Nozbe on my cell phone for promises I have made.)
      • What is the dress of the event?
    3. Get to Know the People
      Now knowing some things, think about the people you have listed at the event.

      • Who are the key people and leaders?
      • What do those leaders care about?
      • Again consider YOUR purpose of going?
      • Pre-connect with the main people using an email telling them you are looking forward to meeting them there. (Either a person you have never met or you admire.)
    4. Be in Control at the Event
      • Find those people you pre-connected with quickly, Since they are the leaders, they will help you connect.
      • Play the host. Talk to people who seem nervous and help them connect.
      • When others come to talk to you, be the one to make introductions.
      • Keep the cards in your pocket unless there is a definite connection you want to follow up with.
      • If you make a promise, write it down. (I use Nozbe on my cell phone for promises I have made.)
      • Watch the alcohol. (Best not to drink at all.)
    5. Decompress and Followup After the Event
      • The after event activity is very important because it helps prepare your mind for the next event and helps you become better connected so next time people will know you better.
      • Breath and be happy you did it.
      • Followup immediately with those you connected with. (Use Linkedin or just email)
      • Followup on any promises immediatly.

Bonus Tricks for Overcoming Your Fear of Networking

  • Just do it over an over.
  • Look for something periodically where you can practice: weekly or monthly.
  • Remember, they are just people. Do not let them intimidate you.
  • Connect to people in line at the grocery store and other non-threatening places for practice.
Keep it up. It does not take very long before you walk into a room and cannot get past the food table because others seek you out to talk to you. Soon, you will be looking for an escape for reasons other than fear. You will be leaving because you have talked too much and need a break.

Question: Have you overcome your fear of networking? How? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

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Question: Have you overcome your fear of networking? How? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

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2 thoughts on “061: 5 Tips Guaranteed to Help You in Overcoming Your Fear of Networking [Podcast]

  1. A really good post Dale. Here is one thing I would add: when you focus on the problems and concerns of others, it often helps you overcome your own. So here is a great question to ask the leaders and other “important” people that you have identified, “What is a challenge that you face in your business?” Blessings!