Extroverts are sometimes guilty of being ramblers. They are often adept at dealing with light social situations and are the life of the party. However, when something is at risk (a job, a contract) some fold like a pack of cards and their masking technique is to talk and talk and talk. Ever been on the end of one of these in a networking situation? On the flip side, if you suspect this maybe you here are a few tips to help you overcome your social anxiety when networking.
1. Don’t stress about your stress. Stress is normal, everyone faces it from time to time. Instead, if you’re new to networking, treat your first few events as learning experiences and identify yourself as a learner to others. Experienced networkers will simply want to help you.
2. When speaking to others remember communication is two way – some in, some out. Since you’re not stressing about your stress now, keep this top of mind.
3. Relax, the fate of your world is not hanging on the outcome of any single conversation at a networking event. If you believe this then your perception of the value of what you may win or lose will change.
4. Rehearse. Write down two introductory sentences that sum up your strengths and your purpose. Then add a question about your profession. This will invite others to speak so you must stop! Rehearse these sentences at home.
5. Mistakes happen. Forgive yourself when they do. One of the reasons extroverts may feel additional pressure to do well when networking is because they believe everyone else thinks they will network well because they are extroverts. Fact is, there is no link whatsoever. Networking is a skill anyone can learn over time.
Few business deals are hinged on one conversation. Moreover, they are based on relationships that mature in the right direction often with hiccups along the way. Keep this in mind, take the pressure down and get networking.
Lisa & Jo