How to Overcome Networking Fears (9 Tips to Try)!

  • 8 months   ago
 How to Overcome Networking Fears, Overcome Networking Fears, Networking Fears, Networking

Networking can drive career growth and future success. But meeting new people can also be terrifying. Follow these nine tips to make networking less scary.

If the phrase “networking” scares you, you’re not alone. The word is jam-packed full of exciting and scary opportunities all rolled into one. 

If you go about networking the right way, you may land yourself a killer job. But if you blow it, then you may struggle in the professional world. 

You may be ready to take the networking plunge but aren’t sure where to start. Luckily for you, it doesn’t have to be a scary venture. 

In fact, it can be fulfilling and fun! 

Learn more on how to make networking more doable, and you’ll form new connections in no time at all. 

Here are some tips to keep in mind: 

1. Make a Goals List 

It’ll make things easier if you make a list of what your goals are. If you planned on writing down your career goals, add networking to your list. 

From there, write a list dedicated only to networking. For starters, you can jot down ways to network online and in person. Seeing things on paper will give you a chance to brainstorm how to network. 

After you hammer out a list, you'll have a better sense of direction. 

Now, it's your turn to put a plan in place!

2. Practice Makes Perfect

Suppose you’re an introvert or like to prepare for events ahead of time. Then take the time to practice! Even if you’re an extrovert, it doesn’t hurt to practice either. 

Consider role-playing with a friend. 

Have them pretend like they’re another professional that you’re meeting for the first time. Conversing with them may help calm your nerves.

Practice what you'll say and have a series of questions you may ask someone. Don't forget to stay engaged in the conversation. Your goal should be to get to know another professional better.  

3. Start Small

You don’t have to go gangbusters right from the start and go to every networking event there is. It’s okay to start small to get your feet wet. 

To take baby steps, start networking online. 

Connect with other professionals on a site like LinkedIn. It’ll be less intimidating connecting with others. Plus, they may refer you to other professionals on the platform and other sites after a while. 

Take an active approach to networking by amping up slowly and see what happens! 

4. Try Online Networking Events 

To expand upon starting small, continue to network online and see if it works for you. The professional world is at your fingertips, so you might as well see what happens! 

If you’re not up for in-person events yet, see if there are online networking events. It may be easier to connect with people on Zoom in the comfort of your own home. 

Eventbrite has a variety of events, so take a look! If you let it, mixing with other professionals can be a fun online experience. 

It may be that you end up meeting enough people online that you don’t need to attend an in-person event. That’d be sweet if you’re a tried-and-true introvert! 

5. Go to One In-Person Event at a Time

After you’ve mastered online networking, you may be ready to do in-person networking. Even if you’re anxious to get started, begin by going to one in-person networking event to see how it goes first.

You don’t want to feel overwhelmed with networking events. Even though it’s good to make connections, you don’t have to overdo it. 

Go to a few events, for starters. From there, you can attend future events if it is beneficial. 

6. Bring a Friend 

If it makes things easier, bring along a friend who also wants to network.

You may go your separate ways during the event. But it’ll be nice knowing someone you know is there nearby. 

Your friend may meet someone in your industry or vice versa. 

You can introduce one another to other acquaintances. Doing a tag team might work well! You both can enjoy going together and meeting new professionals.

7. Reach Out to a Few People at a Time 

After making connections, don’t feel like you have to reach out to everyone at once. Begin by reaching out to a few contacts at a time. 

Besides, depending on how busy you’ve been, you may have too many connections! While that’s a good thing, it’s best to contact a few people to start.

You don’t want to feel overwhelmed and drop the ball on a few people you connected with well. 

With each person, decide how you can help one another follow your career goals. Working together to improve your jobs and industry is exciting! 

8. Form a Friendship

It may not seem as scary networking if you form a few friendships along the way. 

It all depends on how you look at a networking situation. It may help if you’re thinking of creating friendships instead of professional ones. Often, the two intertwine anyway. 

If you’re chatting with a “friend” about your professional goals, that can make things easier. 

Do try to keep things as professional as possible, though. Even if you do create friendships, always keep your career in the back of your mind.

9. Don’t Give Up

You may not make connections right off the bat, and that’s okay.

Give yourself time to find people with whom you click. It may take time for you both to grow your professional skills. 

Being consistent and following up with people is an excellent place to start. If you don’t hear back after a while, shoot them a text or send a message. People get busy, and it may be a good idea to jog their memory. 

Some connections you make may not pan out. Look for other professional relationships and focus on helping each person. If all goes well, they should be more than happy to return the favor. 

________________________________________

Conclusion

Networking is a unique experience, and not everyone enjoys it. Even if you go into it thinking it’s scary, after practicing, your perspective may change. 

You'll no doubt meet incredible people in your industry. And you’ll improve your people skills along the way. 

As a professional yourself, this is something you should strive to do. 

If you fall flat on your face a few times, don’t give up. In time you’ll make new acquaintances during every networking event! 

[Client bio]

Adam Marshall is a freelance writer who specializes in all things apartment organization, real estate, and college advice. He currently works with Prime Place UNL to help them with their online marketing.

Comments