Nerves can be helpful at times – after all, they can stop you wandering in where angels fear to tread. However, they can also jeopardise your performance – particularly when out and about at a networking event. Not everyone enjoys meeting new people. In fact, many professionals avoid attending networking events because of their dread and fears about meeting new people.

“When meeting a stranger, and worrying whether you will be able to keep the conversation going. Remember SW3 – Some Will, Some Won’t, So What!” Girish Shah

Sometimes these nerves about meeting new people, are because we are scared of rejection, or not knowing what to say. For example:

“What if I don’t know what to say?” “What if I get stuck in a conversation with someone very boring?” “What happens if I can’t find anyone to talk to?”

Most of these fears are not grounded in reality and are ‘self-limiting beliefs’ – i.e. things your sub-conscious tells you to protect you, but limit your potential. There are many ways to overcome these nerves, for example:

  • Visualise, before an event, yourself having an enjoyable and fun time meeting new people
  • Arrange to meet a friend or colleague at the event – but agree to split up and circulate
  • Commit to attend a networking event regularly, as the more experience you have of working the room, the easier it becomes
  • Practise your ‘working the room’ skills at big ‘safe’ social events
  • Surf news sites on the internet and find some topics which you would find interesting to discuss with people you meet, such as ‘what do you think of the government’s planned changes to…
  • Remember that everyone who goes out networking is in the same position as you – they want to meet new people and have interesting conversations

How do you conquer your nerves when networking?

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