Networking without fear
The idea of it gives many people knots in the stomach. I used to be one of them.
But it doesn't have to be that way.
The best advice I ever received was to stop thinking about networking as a way to sell yourself and to think of it as an opportunity to help others.
"Attend networking events with the intent to be a connector."
Ask others about themselves and their work. Listen to what they do and who they need to meet. Think about how you might help them through your networks.
When you make networking about service to others rather than focusing on yourself, the fear of facing a crowd melts away. At least it did for me.
Sure, you still need to have an elevator speech because when you are interested in others, they usually ask you about you, so be prepared.
But, when you attend to others, the spotlight changes direction and that's a lot more comfortable than feeling like you're at a speed dating event.
Since those bygone days, I often carry the business cards of others to share. I do far more listening than speaking and am more relaxed too.
Does the idea of networking tie your stomach in knots? What have you tried that has worked for you?