Lots of us avoid networking due to the social anxiety best known as shyness. However, in today's highly competitive world, being a confident and effective networker sets you apart from the crowd. You become more visible, feel more in control and create more business opportunities. Amazingly, 99% of people actually dread this vital activity!!!
Like it or not, increasing your confidence ensures that you become enthusiastic and successful at winning new business.
The social anxiety that we call shyness has escalated in the United States over the past two decades. An astonishing 50% now admit to chronic shyness (up from 40% several decades ago) and another 40% say they have been shy in the past, while 15% admit to feeling shy in certain situations. Only 5% of people say they have never been shy.
In real life, I have met lots of people who share our feelings of shyness, even if it's not immediately recognizable. We learn to hide it well, right?? At least, until we learn to overcome it.
In order to help you stop hiding, I've put together some great tips for you to use when networking, to help you feel more confident and maybe even have a little...*gasp*... FUN! Here they are:
- Assume that most people feel a little insecure and/or shaky, too. Everyone just shows it differently.
- When you see little clusters of people standing in a circle at a party or networking event, move in! Assume they want to meet you. Who wouldn't??
- Be a good listener and let others do most of the talking. Networking is about listening. We have two eyes, two ears and only one mouth. It is more important to be interested than interesting.
- Become part of the action. Arrive early and offer to help, greet newcomers, hand out name tags, pass hors d'oeuvres, give directions. If there is no task for you, learn where things are and position your Self near the door, ready to direct people who look uncertain.
- Round up the stragglers by starting your OWN little circle. Look for solo newcomers and welcome them to your expanding circle.
- Never try to "make a sale" while networking. Whether you're actually selling a product or service, or just looking to meet people for personal reasons, pay attention to this wisdom and just try to make a friend.
As you implement these social skills, become aware that you are becoming more socially powerful than 90% of the population.
Now tell me, doesn't that boost your confidence??