For some entrepreneurs, networking can be an anxiety-inducing obligation. But the right mindset and some preparation helps overcome this. And it could be that all you need is some expert advice on becoming more comfortable networking.
So we asked members of the Young Entrepreneur Council this question:
What’s your strategy for letting go of nervous feelings and anxiety when networking?
Enjoy their helpful answers… and your new approach to comfortable networking.
Find Common Ground
“It’s always easier to introduce yourself when you’re centered. If you know you get nervous, be sure to practice introductions with a friend and force yourself to practice at an event. The more you do it, the easier it becomes. The first interaction is the hardest, then it just becomes a matter of finding common ground to keep the conversation going. Introverts can train to be more outgoing.”
“Remember that almost everyone else you meet is probably just as nervous and anxious as you are. Especially if they’re young entrepreneurs. Like you, they’re probably so wrapped up in their own efforts not to mess something up they won’t notice any little mistakes you make. So focus on yourself and your goals for this networking meeting first – the rest will come.”
Talk to Someone Who Isn’t Talking to Anyone
“If you’re nervous or anxious about talking to someone, don’t heighten that challenge by walking up to a big group of people or two people who are already talking. Ease your nerves by starting small; talk to someone who isn’t talking to anyone. They’ll be appreciative of the gesture, and you can calm down by getting that first challenging introduction out of the way.”
Have a Plan
“Planning helps reduce anxiety, even when networking! Find a list of people who will be at an event before you attend, then go through that list and find three people you would like to speak with. This way, you’ll spend your time focused on meeting the right people instead of wandering around anxiously waiting for someone to talk to you.”
For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Business Collective.
Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched BusinessCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.