According to research, among the fears of a great many people are …
• Death By Fire;
• Public Speaking; and
• Vacationing With In-Laws
Shortly behind those is finding ones self in a room of total strangers. And, even if you don’t fear that situation, you might NOT be totally comfortable with it. But it does not have to be this way.
The first thing to ensure that you overcome the anxiety of being at events is to Have The Right Frame of Mind. While this might not need mentioning, there are plenty of people who trip themselves up at networking events before they even actually show up.
First, remember that networking works. At any particular event it might not work exactly how you want it, but before you embark on the networking event, you need to truly believe that the networking process works and your mere presence has set that in motion.
While your mere presence is important, you will totally undermine your efforts if you bring with you anything but a positive disposition. No, not every day (month or year, for that matter) can be a good one, however, there is something good about each. Reflect on the positive aspects of your personal and professional life. Do what you can to be of uplifting spirits. Remember, while support groups can be a networking opportunity, most networking events are not designed to be support groups. Leave your worries at the door, to the extent possible.
Finally, embark on any networking event that a sincere expectation will come from it. Now, it might not be all that you hoped for (after all there is no guarantee (or even likelihood) that you will get a client out of it. Know this, however, something will come from you being there. You might meet someone that can refer you clients. You might meet someone that puts you one step closer to that. You might reconnect with a former client or center of influence. You might gain a piece of information that holds all sorts of value. There is a plethora of potential benefit that can come from any networking event. You will never get it all, but you will always likely get something.