Even though I go to a lot of networking events, they still stress me out and make me nervous. These strategies I’m going to share with you are some I typically apply to myself to leave me less stressed.
Here are 5 strategies to help you have less stress when you network:
- Have a realistic goal in mind. If you think going to a networking event means you will meet 10 new friends, then your expectations might be unrealistic. I usually set a goal of meeting one to three people who I would actually want to follow up with. This helps me focus on trying to build quality relationships rather than just talking to a bunch of people who I might never want to talk to again. Having the goal reminds me that my purpose for being there is to meet new people and that I’m not making enough of an effort if I can’t connect with at least one person.
- Pretend you’re a journalist in search of interesting stories.Sometimes it can be intimidating to talk about yourself so just ask people questions; they generally like talking about themselves. It’s like pretending to interview them. At the very least, I feel like I will get some interesting stories.
- Bring a buddy. Agree that you will go and approach people together to have conversations. The important thing is not to sit in the corner and only talk to your friend though. Coming with a friend can make things feel less intimidating because you have someone to talk to instead of standing by yourself, alone.
- Think of these conversations as practice. You’re not performing, you’re practicing. You can think of them as practicing for other, higher-stakes conversations. It’s a chance for you to test out your material. I like to test new stories, new jokes, or a new elevator pitch I want to tell and I go in wanting feedback, and accept whatever feedback I get.
- Remember others likely feel the same way that you do. You may think you were the only one who ever felt stressed out by the prospect of networking, but there are more people who get anxious than those who don’t. There’s just some people who are better at hiding it than others.
Which of these strategies resonates with you? I’d love for you to share your thoughts in the comments section. If this was helpful, please share it with a friend or post it on social media.