7 Networking Fear-Busting Strategies

1.  Start where you are KNOWN

Networking is NOT subjecting yourself to a crowd of strangers and “glad-handing” everyone there!  (But this may be the picture that pops into your mind when someone says the “N” word!)

NETWORKING could be:

  • Sending an email to a friend
  • Being in touch with past colleagues
  • Sending a note to someone
  • Gathering with a bunch of friends
  • Making passing comments to someone
  • Attending a seminar

What groups, circles, communities are you connected with?

Who else in your existing circles or affiliations could you get more connected to?

2.  Good news – It is not about “selling” yourself; It is about CONNECTING.

BE CURIOUS and LISTEN- Ask questions, learn about who they are and what they want.

What questions could you ask people you already know to learn more about them?

How could you find out if there is something you have, a resource, an idea, or the connection with a resource that might be of value to them?

3.  GIVE before you GET.

No one has any expectations of you! They are focused on themselves and what they are looking for!

  • Ask questions to find out what they need just because you are interested in helping them!
  • Be real in your curiosity about what they are up to – what concerns they have, and think about what you can offer to them in your follow-up call.
  • Oh yes, did I mention – your only goal should be to find out what they are looking for and collect their cards  or contact information so you can follow-up with just the things they are looking for.  AND ask them if it is OK for you to follow up with them later with your resource.  Now you have their permission and they expect you to call!  They will probably ask you what you are looking for as a result of your generosity!

4.  BE INTENTIONAL.

Decide what you want to learn about if you are attending a gathering of people.  Or what you are looking for.  Or what would make it worthwhile for you to be there.  This is really a learning event.

  • What is going on in the industry that could be providing new opportunities?
  • Who is doing what?
  • Make a list of three things that are on your list of things to know more about.

5.  BE REAL.

Building relationships is the key to being successful before, during and after the job search process.  The only way to build a relationship is the have a “real” conversation.

  • Ask yourself – If I were observing myself, would I recognize me as being the real thing?
  • Would I want me as a member of MY team?

6.  VISUALIZE being someone that you would want to meet.

You are not stuck being the way you “think” you are.

  • Think of someone you admire and emulate some of the things that they do that impact you in a positive way.
  • When you practice in your mind, your brain thinks you have already done it, making it easier the next time!

7.  PRACTICE introducing yourself and sharing experiences.

  • Make up a few two line introductions about yourself that highlight what your expertise is, and what opportunities you are looking for where you know you could add value.
  • Then have a couple of very short examples of where you have brought value to a problem, introduced a new process, or made a significant contribution or an innovation to someone or some project or some organization.
  • Then practice saying each of these  8 – 10 times in the mirror so that it is comfortable and they roll easily off your tongue when asked “what do you do?” or “what are you doing here?”