Fact: I used to despise networking.
A sense of dread would come over me.
I would do it, but I hated it.
I established routines to network regularly, but I would fall off the wagon and have to start over again.
I dreaded starting over even more, but I would do it.
I have come to learn this is a common vibe among a lot of us.
Regardless of the need to network – need a new job, drum up business, update skills, help someone – it can be hard to get in the groove.
Initiating a networking routine is pretty daunting. If you’ve never gotten into a routine to begin with, or have fallen off the wagon, it can be overwhelming to start.
It can also be a little embarrassing: How did I stay eating at my desk so long? How do all of these people seem to know each other?
Um, they don’t. Trust me.
We’ve all been there. You walk into the conference room or association meeting, and it can be overwhelming because everyone looks like they know what they are doing.
But, remind yourself: Most of these people don’t know what they are doing either.
They feel just as awkward as you. I promise.
My advice to you is: Instead of assuming everyone knows everyone and knows what to do, just think about how you can be of service to the people before you.
Think about what you can use for confidence and motivation when your will is running low to attend these events.
Here is how I motivate myself and make it fun:
1. Bring a wingman/wingwoman.
You don’t have to go alone. You can go with a buddy and help each other through conversations. The key is to not spend too much time only with each other or you defeat the purpose of attending, which is to meet new people.
2. Make it a game.
Gamify the experience. How many people can you meet? How many people can you chat about your new initiative with? My fav: How many people can you help with your network? Games make things fun, so I find this works for me.
3. Envision the benefit.
Remember the last time you met someone and where it went. Or think of your last win – who helped you? Where do you meet them? What path were you on that led you to meet that person? Chances are your networking led you to the good in your life. So focus on the result. Your next win could be in this next room you walk into.
4. Reward yourself.
Once you meet the people you want to meet, win the networking game, and/or help the people you want to help, treat yourself to a reward. What does that look like for you?