Does Networking Make You Nervous?
Me too. In fact, I avoided networking for a very long time. I only did it when it was absolutely necessary. As someone who works from home, it’s so easy to just stay home inside my shell so to speak.
The first group (and only group) I joined when I first started my business was a local group of Virtual Assistants – the Golden Horseshoe Virtual Assistants. I’m still a member of this group to this day and find these members to be a wonderful support system and sounding board for my business. And having such a variety of members, each person specializing in different areas is an added bonus when you have a project that is not something you do or particularly enjoy.
Now, after 8 plus years in business, I am finally stepping outside my comfort zone to begin networking. And I have to say, it’s different for me. I’ve never been one who likes to talk about me or be in the spotlight. The first time I went, I was reserved and did my best to shy away from any conversation more than I joined in. Not exactly the best networking strategy there.
Getting Ready for Networking
The next time I decided to go I was determined not to do that. The whole point of networking is to make connections, and while I did have conversations the last time, they weren’t the caliber I expected of myself. So I prepared my marketing message. A simple statement that says this is what I do and this is who I help. I was nervous to say it at first but by the end of the night, I realized the value in having that simple statement at the ready. I was all of a sudden confident in what I did. And it was a great conversation starter when I was asked that “what do You do” question. I had a chance to talk about my business in a setting that I was comfortable with, all from one simple statement.
So, if you are planning to get out there and network but find yourself nervous to start, I suggest getting your marketing message together. It was the best thing I could have done for me to make myself more comfortable networking.
What have you tried or done to make yourself more comfortable networking? I’d love to hear from you.
When I started networking I looked for groups that had an educational presentation as part of the meeting. It helped me to learn a lot about business practices, social media, networking, etc.
I was terrified of networking when I started my business! I got comfortable with the process by finding smaller, more casual groups, which tend to be more supportive than the larger Chamber of Commerce events which are more corporate in nature.
Good tip! Here’s mine: If it’s an event I think I want to attend regularly, I like to find a little volunteer job. Working at the registration desk, handing out name tags, taking photos, etc. It gets me there because I committed to being there, and I automatically meet people I would otherwise shy away from.
That’s a great tip Hazel! I may have to try this myself. Thanks for sharing. ~Angela