So, great advice in theory, right?! For those of you who love groups, crowds and new conversation you already do this. But for those of you like me who have to work up going to a networking event or to a meeting with new people this message is for you.
We all know that if we are going to meet new people and hang out with folks we already know that we need to get out. Whether it be a social event or a work event – they both count and are necessary. Yet, it is hard for some people. And the difficulty varies because if you are hanging out with friends or invite them to your home, you are most likely much more relaxed because you are in your comfort/safe zone. But when it comes to network events for business or work – that can be an entirely different discussion. Work or networking events can be more of a challenge for those of us who aren’t fans of going into a room of people – some we know and some we don’t and starting conversation.
Now, I’m speaking from direct experience this morning. I went to an awesome Networking Breakfast event that was sponsored by SheStarts. It’s a great way to see friends and meet new people without the stress. Yet, I still have to work myself up to going every time. Why? Because it’s hard for me. I can teach a class, get up on a stage but put me in a room with a few people and I can get uncomfortable.
The good news – this is totally normal! And even better news – if this happens to you, you aren’t alone. And I can also share that this is a fact, well for at least 8 of us who were there this morning who all admitted to not liking to going to networking events – but loving ones like those sponsored by great organizations like SheStarts.
It’s just how I’m wired – and I don’t let it defeat my networking. I acknowledge that I need time so I give myself a few minutes to mentally prepare and then guess what? It’s never as bad or as hard as I think it might be. It also helps that the events I attend include like-minded people. And while there is some “small talk” that is not the bulk of the conversation. We are all there to make connections, learn more about each other and our businesses and how we can help support each other. And that alone makes it that much easier to go.
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So, take-away tips (for those who aren’t in love with networking events):
- Give yourself at least 5 minutes before going into the building or room
- Take some deep breaths
- Remind yourself why you came
- BONUS: write down 3 things you want to get out of your conversations – that will keep you on task and purposeful
- Smile – you are fortunate enough to be invited to the event so make the most of it
And while it’s not easy for all of us to network, just get out there already! You have experience and expertise that others can benefit from – so why aren’t you sharing it?