The Networking Newby
We were in two minds what to title this tip, “The Networking Newby” or “The Nervous Networker”. You don’t have to be new to networking to feel nervous or uncomfortable.
As seasoned networkers, it’s surprising how many times we get asked…
“Do you do a lot of networking? This is my first time and I’m a bit nervous.”
Walking into a room full of strangers can be daunting, especially if your “day job” involves being sat behind a computer screen for most of the day. You don’t have to be new to networking and attending your first event to feel nervous, even when you’ve attended many events, it can still feel uncomfortable. A room full of 50, 60, a hundred people and you can still feel alone.
It can be easy to spot the nervous one or the person that feels ‘out of place’, thumbing through their mobile phone, spending along time studying the delegate list without lifting their head, standing at the side of a conversation looking around just waiting to be ‘invited in’.
If you recognise any of these as you, then that’s great, we have a starting point. You’ve already taken the biggest step by putting yourself out there. You can use this to look around the room for the other ones in the room who feel just like you do. You’re not the only one there feeling the same. Approach them say “Hi, I’m [your name], it’s nice to meet you, what’s your name?”
Now you know their name, ask them what they do, who they work for. Have they been here before, what are they hoping to get out of attending today? Remember, you’re just having a conversation, a chat with someone new you just met. Don’t forget to swap business cards, firstly it reminds you of their name and who they work for, it’s always easy to remember someone’s name when you’ve seen it in writing. Secondly, it gives you all of their details so that you can follow up after the event.
Now you’re feeling comfortable, glance around the room, look for someone else that maybe looking nervous, or better still someone that you know. Then take your new contact over to them, introduce them to each other…guess what…you’re networking.
Remember, you’re there to raise your profile and that of your business, so it’s expected that you are going to walk up to someone you don’t know and introduce yourself, they are there to do just the same thing.
Happy networking and Good Luck!