We’ve shared many times on this blog about the power of networking. If you’re like many people, you may read these blog postings and shudder a bit because you don’t like networking with people or it doesn’t come naturally to you. Have no fear, you’re not alone, many people don’t like networking.
Now that you know you’re not alone, you still have to network! But now you can use the fact that others don’t like it either in your favor. Here’s how you can use that little secret to begin networking successfully:
Not many people enjoy networking, now that you know that, move forward. You still have to network to make important connections. Make light of how awkward networking can be when you make connections, then move on and talk about your life, your work, what you have in common. The beginning of the conversation is the worst part, so know that, own it and move on.
Make Others Feel at Ease
If most people around you feel just as uncomfortable as you, try to put them at ease. Reach out to the people in the room who look anxious and ask them about themselves and their work. These people have lots to offer but are just as shy as you. Take the chance and get to know the person in the room who is not so talkative, you never know what kind of ideas they have.
Hang Out in the Right Places
At conferences and events, there are natural places where people congregate, like the food lines, the bar lines or the cocktail tables. If you’re nervous about going up to someone first, stake claim at one of these places. As rooms fill up and so do lines, people will most likely begin talking to you and if not, its the perfect place to break the ice and comment on the long lines or great food.
Nothing to Lose
Though networking isn’t fun to start with, what’s the worst that could happen? If you don’t connect with people, you won’t build your network. If you do connect with people, chances are you’ll get a business card and someone to reach out to. So take a chance and start a conversation!
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