Overcoming Your Fear of Networking
Tips to Master the Art of NetworkingBy Sharon Thompsonowak, Director, Career Development Services at Peirce College and Leslie Ballway, Career Development Counselor at Peirce College
So, you have to attend a networking event and you are a little uneasy about going.
Don’t worry. You are not alone.
For many people, networking is the thing that no one wants to do but it is also non-negotiable. You just have to do it because networking is about making meaningful connections to reach your professional goals. And making connections and networking is often how we find our next job opportunity and advance our careers.
One way to overcome your fear of networking is to remember that other people probably feel uncomfortable at a networking event, too. Think about how to break the ice.
One of the first tools of networking is being able to make small talk. Figure out how to ask questions. Get comfortable talking about the weather or your favorite sports team. These are easy ways to connect with others. For example, you start talking about the Eagles and the next thing you know, you attended the same high school or you know the same person. Now, you have a connection that transcends that specific moment.
If you can become the person who makes that opening it can often be a way to get other people comfortable. Sometimes shifting that power dynamic gives you the confidence and courage to make potentially important connections.
At your next networking event, don’t think you have to meet your next boss. Rather, think that you just need to help other people make connections. If you do this, you are going to help people and you are going to help yourself.
It’s also helpful to think about networking as something that can happens at your kids’ soccer game or a community meeting or while you waiting for the bus. You can make interesting and meaningful connections with people no matter where you are or who you are talking to.
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When you become a student at Peirce College, you have access to Sharon, Leslie and all of the services offered through the Peirce Career Development Services office for the rest of your career – even after you graduate. Check out the Career Development Services page for more career advice.
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