Ugh…Networking

It has been my experience that the word Networking conjures up a certain amount dread in most people. I’ll admit I have occasionally rolled my eyes before heading out the door to attend a networking event.   Having a basic belief of “you get what you expect”, I thought I would try to adjust my attitude about networking.

With a quick trip to Dictionary.com and I found the following definitions for the word Networking:

– a supportive system of sharing information and services among individuals and groups having a common interest:

– to cultivate people who can be helpful to one professionally

– an association of individuals having a common interest, formed to provide mutual assistance, helpful information, or the like

Supportive…Sharing…Common interest….cultivate….can be helpful….mutual assistance.  These are all very comforting words.  You would think a networking event would be a wonderful experience.  This confirmed I needed to make adjustments.

A little more research and I found that only 5% of adults are comfortable in a room full of strangers.  So if most us are uncomfortable and don’t want to be there, how can I make the best of the situation?

I started with redefining my expectations, setting my own rules!

  1. I don’t have to be anything more than friendly and polite.  I can do that.
  2. I can talk with as many people as I wish.  I don’t have to meet everyone in the room.
  3. I don’t have to come home with a new client.  If I meet another professional I can build a relationship with, I have been successful.

Seems so much easier when I do it my way!  Just a few minutes of planning and I’m not feeling the dread any longer.  I’m heading into my next networking event with one thing in mind…..Just Make Friends!