When you think of networking, does the task seem like a chore or does it intimidate you?

If so, it’s time to flip your perspective and inject some fun into the equation. Here’s how…

  1. Stop Calling it Networking. If you’re holding an event, view it as an “open exchange” of ideas. Stress that there is no pressure and plenty of opportunity to share ideas, your contacts, information, and resources with lots of interesting people instead.
  2. Choose Events Carefully. Don’t sign up for just anything. Pick conferences specific to your industry. Sign up for a Happy Hour hosted by your alumni association. Find a hook that you can connect with.
  3. Host Your Own Event. Wish there was a networking event at a certain place with a certain feel? Can you picture it in your head? Make it happen and get those invitations out to others you’d like to share in the experience.
  4. Do Dinner. Are you a foodie? See if there’s a social dining group near you. Sometimes conversation flows better over a good meal or with a glass of fine wine.
  5. Scope it Out. Curious if an upcoming event you’ve heard of is something you should put on your calendar? Get on social media to see who’s talking about it and what they’re saying. Sometimes if you feel like you know what – or who – to expect ahead of time, your nerves can subside and you can start to look forward to attending.
  6. Reward Yourself. Struggling with getting out there but know it’s in your best interest? Consider rewarding yourself for meeting your goals. Say, if you attend an event you’re nervous about and make two introductions, then you can treat yourself to a new outfit afterward.
  7. Bring Someone with You. You’re not alone when you have a friend in tow. Have a pal that’s particularly good at socializing? Ask him or her to tag along with you and they’ll likely put you at ease with their presence.
  8. Head to the Bar. If there is one at the event you’re attending, head there and practice socializing a bit with the bartender and order yourself a drink. Just remember not to overdo it.
  9. Start Small. If you find the idea of walking into a room full of strangers intimidating, begin by inviting an acquaintance on a coffee date for a one-on-one meeting.
  10. Know When to Cut Your Losses. Sometimes a networking event simply isn’t a fit for you. If you are the first to arrive at an event and you’re running late, or no one seems to be chatting, these could be red flags. If you’re uncomfortable, it’s okay to leave. Not every event is for everyone.

Learn more about Pagoda Business Network online at pagodabusinessassociation.com and more about Smith Enterprises Consulting LLC at smithenterprisescorp.com. We’d love to welcome you to a meeting or to help with your business.