Taking the Fear Out of Networking

Slide1Networking – building ongoing relationships to exchange information and advice – is scary. Although it is not our #1 fear*, most people say that these things about networking scare them:

  • Meeting strangers
  • Not saying the right things
  • Having to talk about yourself
  • Making a fool of yourself
  • Getting stuck with the wrong people
  • Not being interesting

Fear in this case is a problem, since interpersonal relationships (formed through networking) are still the primary drivers of business, even now, in this era of e-socializing.

Understanding networking is a good first step to alleviating your fears.  Networking is not:

  • Asking for a job
  • Collecting business cards
  • Randomly passing out resumes
  • Self promotion
  • Pitching a product or company
  • Selling

There will be a time and place place for asking for what you want and receiving from the relationship. The networking occasion is simply the first step and in that step, you are simply forming a connection.  Following up, you will have additional meetings to move forward your agenda.

Networking can occur anywhere, not just at events. Get into a networking mindset, and you will attract opportunities to meet people important to you on the airplane, in coffee shop lines, elevators…

My three-stage plan to networking can help alleviate your fears.

networking approach graphic

Next post: Step 1 to Networking: Prepare

*The Chapman University Survey of American Fears, Wave 2 (2015) provides an unprecedented look into the fears of average Americans. In April of 2015, a random sample of 1,541 adults from across the United States were asked their level of fear about eighty-eight different fears across a huge variety of topics ranging from crime, the government, disasters, personal anxieties, technology and many others.



About Jaya Koilpillai Bohlmann
Global corporate communication, business, and organization behavior executive; author. My blog, DesigningCommunication, offers inspiration, insight, and tips for all professionals who want to express themselves effectively, and lead with integrity.

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