Updated: Oct 24, 2018
Networking – building ongoing relationships to exchange information and advice – is scary. Although it is not our #1 fear*, most people say that these things about networking scare them:
Not saying the right things
Having to talk about yourself
Making a fool of yourself
Getting stuck with the wrong people
Not being interesting
Fear in this case is a problem, since interpersonal relationships (formed through networking) are still the primary drivers of business, even now, in this era of e-socializing.
Understanding networking is a good first step to alleviating your fears. Networking is not:
Asking for a job
Collecting business cards
Randomly passing out resumes
Pitching a product or company
There will be a time and place place for asking for what you want and receiving from the relationship. The networking occasion is simply the first step and in that step, you are simply forming a connection. Following up, you will have additional meetings to move forward your agenda.
Networking can occur anywhere, not just at events. Get into a networking mindset, and you will attract opportunities to meet people important to you on the airplane, in coffee shop lines, elevators…
My three-stage plan to networking can help alleviate your fears.
Next post: Step 1 to Networking: Prepare
*The Chapman University Survey of American Fears, Wave 2 (2015) provides an unprecedented look into the fears of average Americans. In April of 2015, a random sample of 1,541 adults from across the United States were asked their level of fear about eighty-eight different fears across a huge variety of topics ranging from crime, the government, disasters, personal anxieties, technology and many others.