Does the thought of walking into a room full of strangers to introduce yourself and business make your stomach churn? You’re not alone. Business networking can be nerve-wracking, but preparation is key. Knowing what to do, what to say, and how to deepen connections after the event increases success and confidence. Here are 5 ways to reduce networking anxiety.
1. Have a networking strategy. Simply showing up isn’t enough. Plan ahead and decide what outcome you desire from this specific networking event.
2. Be ready to introduce yourself. Your introduction needs to be short, concise and generate interest. The goal is for the people you meet to want to know more. Lengthy introduction that attempt to sell will turn others off. When meeting someone for the first time, they do not need to know every detail about what you do either.
3. Don’t treat everyone at an event like a prospect. You may believe EVERYONE needs your product or service, but that isn’t the case. Instead, you will appear sales-y, selfish and disinterested in others.
4. Do listen more than you speak. Listen for ways you can help others or make good connections for them. Don’t listen for how you can sell them your product. Have some engaging questions ready to ask while networking outside of “what do you do?” and “how long have you been in business?” Show real interest.
5. Know exactly how to follow-up with those you met at an event, and do so in a timely fashion. There’s nothing worse than promising to send someone information or help them make a connection, and then not follow through. Not everyone you meet is a good connection or power partner for you. Have a system for sorting through the collected business cards and connecting with those individuals you wish to know better.
Want to use networking to build your business and increase your visibility?
Attend one of the Chicagoland area’s longest, most popular and most highly rated networking skills training workshops. The Center for Guilt-Free Success we offer three levels of business networking training. All in-person classes are designed to help small business owners leverage the power of networking. Come learn the essential rules of networking, what to say to magnetize referrals and how to make networking your business super power. Find an upcoming networking class HERE.