Networking Jitters? Create New Connections with Confidence!

14 February 2024

Is networking on your to-do list, but fear turns your stomach into knots? You’re not alone! But worry no more because building powerful connections doesn’t have to be scary. As a business coach, I’ve helped countless individuals overcome their networking anxiety and forge invaluable relationships that fuel their success. Let’s dismantle those jitters and equip you with actionable tips to confidently step into the networking game!

Mindset Matters:

Before you start networking getting yourself in a positive frame of mind makes all the difference

  • Embrace the butterflies: Feeling nervous is natural! Stepping outside your comfort zone triggers those dreaded fight-or-flight instincts. Acknowledge the jitters, but don’t let them control you.
  • Shift your focus: Instead of dreading ‘selling yourself’, view networking as ‘building meaningful relationships’. Focus on genuine conversations, shared interests and offering value to others. You’ll be amazed how much more enjoyable and effective it becomes!
  • You don’t have to be an extrovert! Networking isn’t about being the loudest voice. Leverage your listening skills to ask insightful questions and find common ground. Consider bringing a friend or colleague for extra support.
  • Remember your ‘why’: Reflect on why you wanted to network. How will it benefit you? What’s your desired outcome? This motivation will power you through those nervous moments.

Where to Network:

Networking happens everywhere! Here are some suggestions…

  • Online communities: Connect with like-minded individuals on forums, social media groups or at online events.
  • Virtual or in-person conferences: Attend conferences to learn and connect with fellow professionals.
  • Industry talks and events: Attending industry talks could both boost your knowledge and serve as a good networking conversation-starter.
  • Ad hoc opportunities: Go to those after-work drinks you’ve been invited to, there’s always an opportunity to network.
  • Meetings: Meetings are a natural place to connect in business, make a point of connecting with anyone new in the room.
  • Volunteer your skills: Connect with others while giving back to your business community.

Actionable Tips for Success:

Now your head in in the right space and you know where to go… How do I network effectively?

  • Define your goals: What do you hope to achieve through making connections? Knowing your ‘why’ helps you target your efforts (e.g., expand your creativity, find new career opportunities).
  • Craft a compelling intro: Rather than saying ‘I’m a business manager’, create a concise, engaging elevator pitch that sparks conversation. Focus on what you do, how you help others and what you seek in connections.
  • Start small: Don’t overwhelm yourself with a two day conference. Begin with familiar ground – a smaller event, an online community or with a friend or colleague by your side.
  • Use LinkedIn: Update your profile and make sure you follow up by connecting with new contacts after meeting them.
  • Be genuine: Engage in active listening, ask thoughtful questions and remember names! People appreciate genuine interest, fostering deeper connections.
  • Offer value: Share insights, relevant content and answer thoughtfully. Be a resource for others and offer to connect them within your network.
  • Follow up authentically: Send a personalised message, share an article or simply stay in touch. Networking is a marathon, not a sprint.

Remember that practice makes perfect! The more you step outside your comfort zone, the more comfortable you’ll become. With these tips and a positive mindset, you can conquer your networking fears and build a powerful network that propels you forward! So, take a deep breath, put on your smile, and start creating the connections that will elevate your journey!