As you open the door, you see a room full of strangers. All talking, laughing…. your heart sinks.
How will you break into a conversation? Will anyone want to talk to me? Wouldn’t people blank me if I’m not a partner? Why am I here… when I could be….?
Whatever your reason for not being confident when networking, I think it has been pretty much universally acknowledged that most accountants, lawyers and consultants do not like working a room – particularly if they don’t know many people there. Therefore, in this blog post we are going to look at how to get more confident when working the room:
1. Practice makes perfect
Many of us, when working the room, are held back by some self-limiting beliefs. E.g. I struggle to make small talk. These beliefs are often not grounded in reality. By working a room regularly, you can often banish these self beliefs.
2. Give yourself a goal
A goal for the event can often help yourself across the line. Then before you know it, you are busy circulating and all feelings of dread and self-doubt are gone.
3. Arrange to meet someone at the event
It often becomes easier to work a room when you know that there are a few people there that you have arranged to meet. It’s one thing to go to an event with some pre-arranged conversations, and another to feel as if you are going into conversations cold. Therefore, next time you need to attend a face-to-face networking event, who can you arrange to meet at the event?
4. Work out what is making you feel unconfident
As I mentioned earlier, very often the seeds of self-doubt are sown by some limiting beliefs. So, ask yourself about why you are bothered about working a room? As mentioned earlier, if you can get to the bottom of these beliefs, many of them are just not real.
5. Most people are there to network too
When you arrive into a room and see groups of people already talking and seemingly enjoying themselves, it can feel as if no-one will want to talk to you. Therefore, tell yourself everyone else in the room is also there to network and meet new people. Then, go and get a drink and see who else is standing around not deep in conversation. These people will probably welcome a conversation with you. Ultimate, business networking is all about relationships, read what is business networking for more of our thoughts on the basics of business networking.
6. Stand up straight
It’s amazing what a bit of positive body language can do for your inner confidence. So, stand up straight, take a couple of deep breathes, think positive thoughts and head into the room. What are your tips for working the room?