Many, many people think that they are not good at networking. They will do anything – anything at all – to avoid entering a room filled with people they do not know, much less walk up to anyone and try to have a conversation. For these people, this lack of confidence takes one of the best job search methods out of their reach. And those who do go may not get to truly make the most of the opportunity.
But when you think about it, networking is not difficult. You network every day – maybe not for a new job – but in your personal life. Dinner parties, wedding receptions, happy hours, etc. You have been networking probably most of your life. From the first day of school to the last dinner party you went to. To get through those, you used the advice your mom gave you….be yourself, be friendly, just get to know them and let them get to know you.
It works the same way with a business networking event. You just need to be yourself. Let people at the event get to know you while you get to know them.
So if you find business networking to be a scary proposition, the staffing experts at Snelling have these six tips to help boost your confidence.
Preparation is key
Preparation builds confidence. Know where you are going. Know how you are going to get there. Know how long it will take, and prepare what you are going to wear. Think through some great introductory lines. When you feel comfortable about yourself and your journey, it will boost your confidence. When you arrive, speak to the host or the main point of contact and get a feel for what is happening. Will you just need to mingle or will you be expected to say a few words? How many people are expected to show up? If need be, ask for introductions. Trust me, the host is not going to turn you down; he has to make the networking meeting work; otherwise, no one will bother showing up for the next one
Fake till you Make It.
We have all heard this term over and over. That is because it is true; it works. Even if you don’t feel very friendly or the idea of small talk makes you want to break out into hives, act like a confident person. Plaster a smile on your face and channel your inner extrovert and just “fake it” until it is not uncomfortable anymore. Watch the room and pay attention to the great networkers…how they talk, how they move around the room, their tone, their body language. The more you practice, the quicker it will be become second nature.
Remember to breathe
Deep breathes – in through your nose and out slowly through your mouth – are calming. Just keep doing that throughout the event. When you control your breathing, your tone will drop, you will talk at a much slower pace (not turtle-slow, but at a normal cadence). People will listen to you, because it will be easy to listen to you. You will feel calmer, the circle will continue.
People are much more attractive and approachable when they smile. Nothing turns people off more than “resting b**** face”. Now, this does not mean slap a “Joker-like” grimace on your face, but if you focus on simply turning the corners of your mouth up ….ever so slightly…you will be amazed at the results. Not only will you project approachability but you will begin sending a different message to your brain, and you will start to feel (believe it or not) happy. Happy people attract
others, and your confidence will continue to build.
Realize that others are just as nervous as you are. There will be other people attending the event who are breaking out into hives, hiding in corners, staring at the ice in their drink with an intensity not thought possible. Approach them; they will probably love you forever, and they might just be your ticket to your next best fit job.
Do not start off conversations with “I am so nervous”.
Do not announce that you feeling nervous and are not very confident. You are sending the wrong message, and making others feel that it is their duty to entertain or (worse yet) babysit you. Remember, the only person who is stopping you from having a confident and exciting experience at your next networking event is you. In-person networking is truly one of the best ways to land your next job. So, get out there, smile and work towards becoming the next-great-networker.
Want more job search tips? Check out our Candidate Resource Center and what you need to do to make your job search successful. And, when you are ready to get started, remember Snelling. We know where the jobs are and we can help you in your process. So send us your resume today!