Overcome Your Networking Nerves

Networking is an important skill for any business professional. It's the ideal way to expand your network with fellow professionals in the area. The Lake Area Chamber of Commerce knows how important networking is - that's why we host a number of networking socials throughout the year! In addition to growing your current connections, networking involves meeting new people and getting to know them and their business. For many professionals, networking is an intimidating concept. If you are nervous when entering networking events (or avoid them altogether), learn how you can improve your networking skills below!

Success Tips for Nervous Networkers:

1) Arrive Early

If walking to a room full of people is intimidating, arrive before the big crowd. Coming early to a networking event can help you get acclimated to your environment. This also gives you the chance to visit with fellow networkers as they arrive. Arriving early can help ensure networking groups have not formed yet and you are sure to get in on a group to visit as they form.

2) Bring a Friend

Going to a networking event alone can be intimidating, especially if you are nervous. Bring a friend along to help ease your nerves. Invite a co-worker or fellow business owner to join you. If you do bring a friend to network, keep an open demeanor. You don't want to get too involved in a conversation with your friend that you forget the real reason you came to the event in the first place.

3) Break Out of your Comfort Zone

Challenge yourself to get out of your comfort zone - not a lot growth happens there. Before your event set a goal of a number of new networkers you want to meet. Whether you have a specific business in mind or simply want to expand your network, it's best to have a set goal you can work toward.

4) Join a Small Group

If there is a small group of networkers visiting, it may be easier to join this group versus a larger one. Don't feel intimidated to work your way into a group - almost everyone has been in the exact position you are in.

5) Bring Business Cards

Don't forget to bring your business card. This can help you feel more at ease when someone asks to exchange cards. It's best to be prepared and have cards on hand, as well as a nametag on your shirt. It's an easy way for people to recognize your name and/or business and make a connection that way.

6) Ask Questions

Open-ended questions can help if you are nervous to meet new people. It's a great way to get to know a fellow networker. It also helps build a personal connection if you show interest. Open-ended questions can help the conversation flow better instead of the short back and forth of small talk.

7) Join Other Solo Networkers

If you are nervous about networking, approaching a solo networker may be easier. It can also help the other networker feel more at ease. You can help each other by giving one another a person to network with. People remember how others make them feel and you can help someone else feel welcome if you choose to network with them.

Networking Facts:

-95% say that face-to-face meetings are essential for long-term business relationships.

-85% of professionals say they build stronger, more meaningful business relationships during in-person meetings and conferences.

-77% of professionals say they prefer in-person meetings because of the opportunity to read body language and facial expressions.

-75% say they prefer in-person meetings because they lead to more social interactions and the ability to bond with coworkers/clients.

-49% say they prefer in-person meetings because they allow for more complex strategic thinking.

Improve Your Networking Skills with Us!

You're ready to practice your new networking technique at our upcoming social. Like any skill, practice can help you get more comfortable with networking. It's important for your business to get out and meet other professionals in the area. We look forward to welcoming current and future Lake Area Chamber members to network with us. Our networking socials at the Lake of the Ozarks are held once a month at various businesses. It's a safe place to practice your networking skills. The more you do it, the more comfortable it becomes!

Contact Your Lake Area Chamber Of Commerce!

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