Let’s be honest: Networking events can suck. Yes, they’re a necessary part of growing a business or expanding your professional reach, but are they really anyone’s idea of an ideal time? You could be comfortably joking around with friends who already love you; instead, you’re awkwardly dancing through conversations with strangers who may or may not just want to sell you boat insurance.
If the idea of exchanging business cards makes your neck hair crawl, I wanted you to know that you’re not alone. I asked members of the DYP executive team to share their biggest networking fears. See if you relate to their answers.
What fears have you had going into a networking event?
- Nervousness - not knowing what to say. Ending up by myself in a corner lol
- That I wouldn't know anyone and would revert to standing aside and scrolling through my phone.
- People who just hand you a business card and walk away.
- People not taking me seriously due to my age/gender.
- I used to be scared of going alone to networking events.
- Not knowing anyone or having to walk up to a group of people.
What "type" of person or behavior annoys you at a networking event?
- The person that automatically signs you up for their company's newsletter without asking you.
- People who stick only with the people they came to the event with and are not open to others joining in conversations.
- The Suit - or the pushy salesperson.
- People who oversell themselves or don't allow for dialogue.
- The type of people who hang in cliques of the same people and don't welcome you.
What's a bad experience you've had at a networking event?
- People who are dismissive when you try to network with them. For example, if someone asks "what do you do?" and it’s not up to par with them.
- Being at the wrong networking event--not in my industry.
- Being stuck in a conversation.
- No format to spur collaboration and communication.
- Saying congratulations to a woman who wasn't pregnant.
So yeah, we sympathize.
But we also wanted to do something about it, so our next event, Networking 101: The Art of Relationship-Building, will be an exploration of how to make you a better communicator in these challenging situations. Join us and get practical advice from experienced instructors with Dale Carnegie Training, which has been teaching on this subject for more than a century.
The event will be on Wednesday, March 8th from 6-8 p.m. at the new WeWork office at 1247 Woodward. Discounted tickets for DYP members. Click the link above for more information or to sign up!