From experience (and trust me, I have plenty of it when it comes to this topic) Networking can be one of the toughest things to do if you suffer from being Shy.
So how to you become Brave and Face those Fears and get yourself out there?
There’s a few things that you can do to elevate your confidence. But before I get into those nifty little numbers, just remind yourself WHY it’s important for you to Network and also WHERE you should be doing your Networking to build your business and brand.
In business or for your career, Networking is vitally important for a few very good reasons.
1. It’s not what you know, it’s who you know
2. Learning, teaching and informing others is FREE and worthwhile
3. Building trusted relationships is KEY to your ongoing success
4. You can Network with ANYONE and you never know Who you are going to meet
And I have met some AMAZING and very helpful contacts from random conversations (even in the Post Office) – you have to remain open to what’s around you.
OK to the brave face stuff that we all need to know. I’ll tell you something honestly, I am always TERRIFIED when I walk into a room full of unknown faces, but I use this fear wisely and take those nerves as my guiding Tool to give me the energy boost I require to be Confident.
1. I’m dressed to Impress. It is my job after all, but when I am feeling confident in my clothing, I feel less stressed about how I may be judged before I’ve uttered a single word.
2. Network at events that suit your style. If you don’t drink then perhaps a Cocktail evening will make you feel uncomfortable. Lunches are often a great way to meet several people at once at a large table and are less intimidating than a standing event. An introductory coffee can be more like an interview, but may also be less overwhelming than a room full of people.
2. Know why you are there and how to introduce yourself with Confidence and in Context. Have a personal or business brand statement that cleverly states who you are without being over rehearsed and sounding too much like an elevator pitch.
3. Be prepared. Take business and / or networking cards with you. A notepad to jot down web addresses or contact details.
4. Don’t go alone. Take a colleague or a business friend with you. Work the room together and then separate when you are feeling confident about approaching and introducing yourself.
5. Practice. It makes perfect. If you are starting out in business or are looking to get to the next level in your career, get out there and start to mingle. The more you network, the easier networking becomes.
And just to round this off. If you have been collecting business cards, it is worthwhile writing on the back of them a little note about the person so that you can recall a little bit about them when you follow up (and don’t forget to follow up, otherwise the Networking value is nil).
Off to it you go, Front and Forward Facing!