If you’ve tried a few networking events and you just don’t like it, don’t worry, no-one likes everything! And being out there having to speak with different people about different things simply isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. But if you’re in a position where you have to network as part of your job/business, what can you do?
Yes, but we can ALL improve
With most things in life – sport, DIY, playing a musical instrument, art, dancing. etc – some people just seem to naturally pick things up well. We’re all good at some things, but find others a challenge. Networking is exactly the same!
Over the years I’ve seen lots of ‘natural networkers’ and you’ll have seen them too. These are people who like chatting with others, including not just their friends but also people they’re meeting for the very first time. They look relaxed and smile and laugh. They’re naturally interested in others and their fellow networking delegates inevitably move towards them
If that’s not you, fear not. Because just like sport, DIY, music, etc, you can get better. And here’s how to do it
First of all, it’s ok to admit that networking doesn’t come naturally to you and that you get a bit nervous. That’s ok! But if you want/have to do it and would like to get better, observe the natural networkers and learn from them. If they’re smiling and laughing, try to smile more and laugh more. If they’re asking questions and listening hard, do the same. Don’t stop being you. Just try to gradually introduce some of their behaviours
If you commit to becoming a better networker, through observing, speaking with other networkers, asking them questions, reading Top Tips, practising (ie, continuing to attend events!) and ideally, attending some networking skills training, you’ll slowly but surely move from a nervous networker not to a natural networker, but to a more relaxed, comfortable and confident networker
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