Lately, networking seems to be more and more popular among small and medium sized companies.
More than two-thirds of small business owners are members of one or more business associations. These associations take the form of clubs or networks, where people often meet and discuss their ideas and experiences.
However, many small business owners think that networking is useless and avoid it at all costs. Even if some small business owners do not see networking as useless, they still avoid it for various other superficial reasons, such as lack of time or other issues.
Under these reasons, the true reason remains hidden deep inside their conscience. But the real reason is the fear of networking.
Face Down the Fear
Initially, nobody wants to be in a room full of people they don’t know and try to strike up a conversation.
This sounds like a bad dream for many people, and you might ask yourself “how can I enjoy talking to complete strangers?” But this is just what networking does; it pushes you from your everyday life and forces you to fight your hidden social fears. It helps you grow, both personally and professionally.
Because of the importance of networking in business life, you must face your fears and defeat them. To do this, you simply need to discover what that specific fear is, and this is even easier than it sounds.
4 Common Networking Fears
1. Among the most common fears is the fear of meeting strangers. But don’t you meet strangers every day in the store, at the gas station, or even at work?
The trick is to not look at new people as strangers. So the first thing you should do is see the people that you are meeting for the first time as friends.
2. The second big fear is the fear of making a fool out of yourself. If you accidentally spill your (or someone else’s) drink or say something wrong, this does not mean you have made a fool out of yourself.
In most cases, this is only your perception – and the people around you might not even notice. Many people are very busy fighting their own fears, so they will probably not notice a small mistake from you.
3. Many people are very concerned about what to say. It is enough if you prepare yourself a little before the actual conversation and also if you use small talk.
To start a conversation, it is enough to use a simple “Hello, may I introduce myself?”
4. Another concern many people have during networking is coming across as interesting. You do not need to do anything special; you just need to ask some interesting questions and be a good listener.
If you really want to have something prepared to say, have a unique story or way of introducing yourself ready.
If you are concerned about not knowing how to finish a conversation, just take a little time for some preparation. A simple sentence at the right moment (a natural break in the conversation) is enough.
Overcoming your fears and concerns about networking is not that difficult. You just need to relax and have a positive attitude.