If you or someone you know is apprehensive about attending a networking function, it could be because he or she – or you – are shy or introverted by nature.
The idea of small talk can be intimidating, and it’s an important skill to have when it comes to meeting new people. For those in need of some help, heed these tips…
- Eliminate anxiety. This may seem easier said than done, but what you need to start with is having a talk with yourself, first. Remind yourself that the anxiety is controlling you, not your beliefs or what you want to do. Remember that if you’ve considered attending a networking function, it’s likely because you want to do it. You may also want to approach small talk from a view of helping the person you’re in conversation with. He or she needs someone to talk to, too.
- Believe in the value of small talk. Oftentimes, people have a hard time with small talk because it is viewed as frivolous, but it truly does serve a purpose. It’s like the warm up before an exercise routine. It builds a foundation for a deeper conversation.
- Indulge your curiosity. Shy people and introverts are often curious and love to know what makes people tick. They just keep those wonderings to themselves. If this is you – small talk is the time to let it out! Ask those questions that are in your head.
- Avoid short answers. Try to be considerate of the person you’re speaking with. If he or she asks a question that can be answered with a simple “yes” or “no,” consider the purpose of the question and give a bit more, and then follow up with a question of your own.
- Be aware of your body language. Reserved people often, without knowing it, exhibit closed body language. They don’t easily engage in eye contact; they have folded arms, things like that that make them seem disinterested. Sound like you? Take a personal inventory and try to consciously change these habits.
Want to join us at a function? Learn more about Pagoda Business Network online at pagodabusinessassociation.com.
Nikki Murry is editor of Berks County Living magazine and a freelance writer, editor, proofreader and blogger. In her free time she is an active dog rescue volunteer and enjoys spending time with her 14-year-old son, Riley, and her three dogs: Buddha and Shelly, French Bulldogs, and Bruno, a Boston Terrier.