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Social Success Tips: 5 Tips to Conquering Networking Phobias

11 Oct 2011 8:44 PM | Working Women (Administrator)
Blog by Patricia Rossi

I am frequently asked by people who find themselves uncomfortable in social networking situations, “What can I do to become more relaxed?” Many people,not just those  who consider themselves an introvert or shy, find it difficult to communicate with people they don’t know very well.  As a result, they may find they lose out on business opportunities.

Keep in mind, people like to do business with someone they know and feel they can trust. So, the next time you are heading to a social networking event, see it as an opportunity to make new friends and this will naturally turn into new business contacts.

Following are a few tips to improve your networking experience:

  • Practice conversation. Wherever you go, see it as an opportunity to practice conversing with people you don’t know – the grocery store, coffee shop, bus stop, gym, doctor’s office, or spouse’s family functions. If you see someone idle, strike up a conversation. What’s the worst that could happen? Every opportunity gives you a chance to reflect and then build upon the next experience, making it easier each time.
  • Wear a smile. Just keeping a smile on your face gives others the overall impression that you are a positive person. If you only maintain a blank stare, people will write you off pretty quickly. You only get one chance to make a first impression, and your expression may be the first thing people notice.
  • Remember names and faces. All too often people say they forget someone’s name immediately after an introduction. Make a point of paying attention at introductions and remembering the person’s name. Equally important is to remember the face that goes with the name. This makes a person feel important and they will have a positive reaction toward you as well.
  • Ask questions. If you don’t know what to talk about with someone, ask something you would like to know about the person. Ask them about their hobbies, what they like to read, something about the meeting, where they got their designer shoes that you just love and have to have. People like to talk about themselves, so you can take the focus off of your own uneasiness and put it on what you would like to know about the other person.
  • Listen, listen, and listen some more. Often times we are focused on what we should say next and we are not really listening to what the other person is saying. Make direct eye contact with the person you are speaking with and listen carefully to what is being said, then the conversation will flow easily. It won’t take long before you and this person who was a stranger only a moment ago now feels like a new friend.
  • All of the above suggestions are things you can and should practice in public settings. Then, the next time you go to a networking event, you will be much more comfortable with making conversation, making new friends, and ultimately developing great business contacts.

Wishing you much happiness and success!

Patricia Rossi, America’s Etiquette and Protocol Coach, www.patriciarossi.com

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