A short while back, I delivered a keynote address on how to network today. It looked at both social media networking and traditional networking, and how to overcome the fear of attending events and networking. It addressed the situation of how to manage when you “aren’t good” at networking? I thought I would share some of it with you. I will call it the Four Functions to Overcome Fear at Networking Functions!
1. Go with a friend. Ask them to do introductions or let them lead the way.
2. Stand by the food or bar and “help out.” Do simple things like standing at the front of the buffet line and handing out the plates as people come up or hand out napkins when they get their drinks at the bar. Normally, they will say, “Thank you” and you will say, “You’re welcome.” Lo and behold, you started a relationship! Also, they will remember you. You were the person who was kind to them.
3. Ask questions. Instead of the typical “Where are you from?” or “Where do you work?” ask more engaging questions such as “What are you passionate about?” or ask if there is someone specific they hoped to meet at this event/conference. You never know. It might be the friend you brought along. Any old way, see if you can help them meet that person. It gives you something to do, allows you to forget your fears, and you help someone. They will remember you forever!
4. Come with a plan. This is very important. Why are you at this networking event? Is it to meet new people, and new prospects or properties? Is it to rekindle existing relationships with people you know are also attending? Is it to promote your own event and talk it up? Is it just to be seen or because your boss said you had to go? No matter what it is, figure out your objectives and work toward them through the three ideas above.
These Four Functions will help you overcome Function Networking Fears. Just remember that FEAR is nothing more than False Expectations Appearing Real! Next time you have to go to a networking event, try these and let me and others know how they worked out via our blog, Twitter, or LinkedIn!
These are just one person’s thoughts. Yours are welcomed as well. Please add your thoughts or comments below. Thank you for reading and your feedback.
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