Get Over Your Fear Of Business Networking, Pt. 1

Business networking. Everyone needs to do it. And even though we’re in the business of communications, many of us dread it.

So here are some tips that will help you lose your fear of business networking. (And for the sake of this post, we’re talking about attending business networking events.)

1. Arrive Early: One of the reasons some of us are uncomfortable when we get to a networking event is that our fear makes us come late. Then when we arrive, we see a room full of people engaged in conversation, and we have to “break in.” So trick the system by arriving just before the event starts.

2. Have A Goal: Many leave networking events not sure if they got full value from their attendance, because they never had firm goals from the get-go. So before deciding if you’ll attend an event, create three solid goals around your attendance. (And if you can’t, perhaps this event isn’t worth your time and money.) Goals might be to meet at least one prospect, one influencer, and even one competitor to whom you can refer business and vice-versa. Or perhaps its to gain a key learning in an area in which you must improve your knowledge. And don’t forget to create a goal around helping one or two other attendees.

3. Be The Friendliest One In The Room: It’s often tough for introverts and shyer types to attend business networking events, but they need to. A great way to overcome networking anxiety is to play the part of the friendliest person in the room. Make an effort to make eye contact, to smile, and to be the first one to reach out your hand and introduce yourself. You’ll not only help get over your own nervousness, you’ll help put others at ease. And that’s a gift.

4. Listen More Than You Talk: People love to talk about themselves. Encouraging them to do so allows you to better determine if they might be a prospect or an influencer, or if they might be connected to someone you want to meet. Equally important, getting them to speak will help you know if you can do some good for them, and that’s a critical part of business networking. The critical thing here is to really listen!

I’ll share more in Part Two. Meantime, please leave me a comment regarding how you’ve gotten over your fear of networking.

Ken Jacobs

I’m the principal of Jacobs Communications Consulting, which helps public relations and communications agencies and organizations grow and manage business, and enhance staff performance, leadership and communications skills.We do so via consulting, training, and coaching. To learn more, please click on the “Jacobs Communications Consulting” tab on the top.