You’ve been invited to a networking event. You are excited. You know this is what you need. This event is going to help catapult your business to a new level. You are going to meet people who can support you and connect you with the people who need your service/product.
It’s the day of the event, and you are feeling a little nervous. Butterflies in the stomach, you feel like somebody put lead weights in your shoes! What is all of this? You are a successful business person, who loves what you do.
It is the dreaded condition known as “Network-itis”, and you my friend are not alone in suffering from this condition. The good news is that this is a curable condition. It is easily remedied. Why? Because you already know, you have got to “network to get work”
Here are some “cure-alls” to getting rid of “Network-itis” once and for all.
1. Take small steps. Rome was not conquered in a day and either will your networking skills.
2. Go with a friend or fellow business acquaintance. There is strength in numbers, and walking into a room where you know no one can be a little intimidating. Walk in with a friend, (but don’t hang on to that friend, remember you are here to meet new people).
3. Be Prepared. Business cards? Check. Looking good. Check. Have your 60 second personal commercial ready. Practice it in front of a mirror, to your significant other, your best girlfriend. After 16 years of public speaking I still practice what I am going to say in my car on the way to an event. And yes, people look at me twice. But I don’t care. I am going to go in there and look like I know what I am doing, (even if I am not so sure!)
4. Extend a hand and a smile. You will be amazed what these two simple gestures will do for you in confidence and your business. You are not the only one who has Network-itis. People will remember you for your kindness
5. Be true to who you are. This I know is easier said than done. It will take practice. But when you are true to yourself, people appreciate the honesty that comes with that presence.
You still may not be comfortable with networking but with the above tips, it should help ease the pain. So, whether you like it or not, force yourself to get out there and network, you’ll be glad you did and your business will thank you for it!