Last week I made my first virtual presentation. I am really used to giving presentations and I see nerves as part of the process. It’s the body’s physical reaction (fight or flight) and chemical reaction (the release of stress hormones, particularly adrenaline and cortisol) to new activities, which I accept. So, scary is good, because it keeps us alert and proves we’re still alive!
Once the thunderous applause had died down, I’d been showered with virtual flowers and virtually paraded, shoulder high, round the town, there was a Q and A session. I was asked what my top three tips for nervous networkers were. Now that’s a whole different presentation, so I gave a quick list, but realised this was something that I could share on a blog.
For the purposes of this blog I am going to assume you have prepared for your networking meeting before you walk through the door or turn on your computer. (You can download networking tips here)
Tip number 1:
Accept that networking can be nerve–racking. Remember others may be just as nervous, so accept that nerves are part of the process. Most people are nervous when they are new to any activity and for some people each networking event is as nerves-inducing as the last.
Accept this and accept that you are amongst friends, even if you don’t know them yet. No one wants you to fail.
Tip number 2
Keep it brief. One thing that will turn friends into less happy friends is if you pin them verbally against a wall and spew your entire product range at them. Practise introducing yourself before the event. I would suggest:
- Your name (see my blog for reasons why you should wear a namebadge, or in the virtual world, put your name and company name on the screen)
- Your company name
- Then ask ‘What do you do? ‘
Then shut up and let them talk!
Tip number 3
Get a business card if it’s a face-to-face meeting. If you are networking virtually copy the chat feed and/or jot down their name and business name. Then, after the meeting, connect with them by email, social media or LinkedIn. Ask how you can help them. Would they like a 1-2-1? Would they like some more information? Obtain feedback on how you did. Remember, this is about building relationships and not selling.
So, three tips for people new to networking, which might also be helpful to people who are already networking and who might want to review how they are doing.
Feedback on this, or any of my blogs is always welcome.
If you want more handy tips on networking download my top 20 tips, and you may want to read some of my blog posts.