There is SO much information out there about how to be less nervous at business networking events. I even wrote this article myself 5 Tricks to help you feel more confident at networking events.
I’ve been to over a thousand networking events now, and I coach people every single week in how to win more business from their networking. And I reckon we get far too hung up on this idea about being super confident.
It’s ok for you to be nervous. I think there is a huge danger that if you think you have to be confident, that you will wait until that happens before you start your networking journey.
A lot of people are nervous about networking. It’s fair to say, that when you enter a networking event a load of people are fronting it off. They’re just as nervous as you, they’re just pretending they’re not.
I read a book many years ago entitled “Feel the fear and do it anyway” by Susan Jeffers. The basic premise of that book is that you only get more confident, by doing the stuff you’re not confident about.
That means, in this context, that if you’re not confident about networking, but know you need to be out there, that you need to get stuck in.
Roll with your nerves. Understand that you’re not the only person there who is nervous. Suck it up and get on with it. By all means read my 5 Tricks, and know that these won’t completely cure your nerves. The only way to cure them is to accept there isn’t a cure, except for doing it and getting better at it.
Want to know a secret? I’m still nervous. Particularly at events which are new to me. I’m no better than anyone else at walking into a room full of people I don’t know. But I understand these days that every big opportunity starts with a little conversation, so I make sure I start as many little conversations as possible.
Stefan Thomas is the author of Business Networking for Dummies and Instant Networking. He runs The Networking Retreat in Oxfordshire, England – helping business owners increase their ROI from business networking.