If we very quickly go into talking only about ourselves and our businesses, we’ve missed out the part that comes first – developing rapport. It’s not a sales pitch, it’s a conversation. And conversations are like tennis, they go backwards and forwards
First of all, be honest – and let others know that. Maybe some of your contacts feel exactly the same way and can offer some understanding and guidance
And what is it that you don’t like – joining conversations? Leaving conversations? Speaking with strangers? Or that awkward silence that sometimes happens?? If you can identify what you’re most concerned with, then you can ask others what’s helped them. Good, experienced networkers will always be happy to offer their feedback
And choose your formats wisely. For example, if a networking organisation or format regularly receives feedback for friendly, informal events, and that type of networking appeals to you, that’s where to head for. Or if you’d rather go to structured events that don’t leave you having to start or join conversations, check them out instead
Finally, try to remember that when you break it down, networking is just chatting with other people, talking and listening. And you already do that in work and life!