I’m typically a “people-person”. I love being around people. I love talking to people. But when it comes to networking with people, I run for the hills.
However, I took a leap a few weeks ago and attended a really cool event with Who What Wear, Bloomingdale’s and Cotton. I didn’t want to pass up on this event, so I went by myself after finding out that none of my friends got an invite and we couldn’t bring a guest. I really went because I knew it would be a fashion show, so I wouldn’t have to do a ton of networking. Well, the show obviously didn’t start on time, so all in attendance had to wait in a vestibule before being seated. And I was alone. I had a good 20 minutes to think about networking – and although I wish I had mingled a bit more, I did come up with the idea for this post 😉
Why networking is scary
Ever walk into an event by yourself and notice everyone has already formed their little cliques? This has happened to me so many times at blogging events, and that’s why I rarely go to them by myself. It’s so nerve-wracking to go up to a group of fashionable ladies and try to get in on a conversation. You either figure they already know each other and everything about each other’s lives OR they met at the beginning of the event and already have a topic to talk about. Personally, I’m always nervous to go up to bloggers that I follow, but may not follow me. Besides the fact that they don’t know who I am (or maybe they do), I never want to come off as a “fan” girl. There’s also always that little insecurity of being judged the second you walk away. So yeah, networking is definitely scary.
Try not to make excuses
Because networking is scary, I always come up with a million and one reasons not to go to an event. This is probably my first mistake. Taking risks is pretty much a necessity in life. And honestly, what do I have to lose when it comes to attending an event? Absolutely nothing. The worst thing that could happened is that people do judge me. Probably wouldn’t want to connect with those types of people anyway, right? One of the easiest excuses to make is when you go to an event with one person. You and your friend walk into an event and are attached at the hip. Typically, Allie/Linda and I will barely mingle unless we see girls who we’re friends with already. Get rid of the security blanket ASAP.
Next time there’s an event that you’re invited to and interested in, I challenge you to go for it. Let the excuses stop here.
Networking importance and what to remember
There are so many reasons why you should forget about your fear of networking. Most importantly, you need to think about the connections that could come of it. Brands invite YOU to an event not only because they want exposure, but they want to see that you’re interested. This can only be beneficial to you when it comes time for a brand to start looking at influencers for a campaign. Right? I can’t tell you how many amazing relationships I start with brands just by putting a face to a name. Emailing is cool and all, but when you can get to know a brand representative, it’s really nice to think of them as an actual person! Next, think about the friendships you COULD create. I’ve met a lot of great people from networking, and even if we’re not BFFs, it’s always nice to see a familiar face when you walk into the next event!
Tips for getting better at networking
- Have an elevator speech – Don’t talk about the weather. Be prepared to give a little bio about yourself and then ask the person about themselves. This is SO important. Never be THAT person who only talks about his or herself.
- Don’t overthink it – This will be your downfall. If you go into an event with a positive mindset, it’ll be a lot easier to put yourself out there.
- Set a goal – Walk into an event telling yourself that you’ll introduce yourself to at least three people. And actually do it.
Now it’s YOUR turn: What are some of your tips on overcoming the fear of networking?
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