From an early stage in your career you have to endure a firm of professional torture. The conference, the seminar… the informal networking time…. Despite your protestations, you are repeatedly told that ‘networking’ is an essential skill for any professional, and vital if you are going to increase your profile and get your name out there – plus if you do it enough, it will become second nature to you.
So, you once again, enter the room and are met by the sight of a heaving mass of people. The room is filled with the noise of conversations.
All of which you are not part of.
For some people, a big room of people which they have to network in can be a very intimidating sight. Even some highly experienced networkers, like me, at moments like this can feel a small voice saying to them “you’ll never be able to break into a conversation, no-one is ever going to see your 5ft 2? frame amongst all these 6ft+ men in dark suits….” before you know it, you’ve almost managed to talk yourself into a networking nightmare…
So, how can you conquer this fear?
1) before the event starts arrange to meet some people at the event. This is an easy way of making sure you get to the event and quickly propels you into that first conversation.
2) arrive promptly, so you don’t get presented with a room full of people as you walk in the door
3) give yourself a goal of having 3 quality conversations at the event. That way you wouldn’t be under pressure to feel as if you have to rapidly circulate and talk to everyone – which can give you conversation overload.
4) say a few personal affirmations (e.g. ‘I’m a great networker’ or ‘I’m going to have some great conversations at this event’ or ‘people will want to talk to me’) before you enter the room, as this will help your confidence.
How would you advise someone who finds large rooms of people intimidating? (If you would like more help to network, how about downloading your free copy of my Networking Plan ?)