A Quick Guide to Networking: Get over the Fear
To some, partnering the word “fear” with “networking” doesn’t make any sense. What is there to fear about networking? If you don’t know, maybe you should stop reading this article now. I don’t want to give you any fears that you don’t have.
But, if you do have a fear of entering the room, hopefully we can put some of your fears to rest.
Entrepreneurs can be lone wolves. They aren’t always the life of the party. This can lead to a lot of dread and worry when it comes to meeting people. Here’s where we can learn a lot about networking from dating.
Fear of rejection is a big one. What if no one likes me? Worse, what if they think my idea is stupid? Head cheerleader isn’t going to say ‘yes’ to that prom date if you never get up the courage to ask her. Straying from the metaphor, sometimes people reject you because they simply can’t help you. Maybe they have invested somewhere else or they aren’t connected to the right people. No matter what the reason, though, rejection hurts.
Maybe this won’t help you get over the fear, but here’s the truth: it’s going to happen. Not everyone will see you for the brilliant innovator you are. And, to be far, that’s not what they’re there to do. It’s part of the process.
Another way that networking is similar to dating is the dreaded follow up. How often do we fret and agonize about that business card burning a hole in our pocket? Rather than fret about when the best time to shoot an email or call the number, try doing something easy the day after you make a connection by adding them on LinkedIn. Adding them on a social network doesn’t require a lot of time or commitment, but it keeps your connection fresh. It also gives you some time to relax before shooting out an email in the few days after your connection.
In the last article, we talked about small talk. Hopefully if you follow the advice of that post (and some of the comments), you’ll feel more prepared when entering a function that will be network heavy.
It always helps to prepare for a function, but don’t go in too rehearsed. Have reasonable expectations for yourself and an event.