One of the concerns often brought up by folks who I help coach through networking is their concerns with overcoming shyness. If you have yet to get over that hump and need a little encouragement, use these life hacks to make your networking more methodical, and make feeling shy secondary.
1) Know The Space
When you are going to head out to a networking event, take a quick scan for a lay of the land. Is the a snack table? A bar? Are people congregating in a particular area? Having a sense of your surroundings can bring comfort.
2) Have a Prospect List
At any networking event it is important to have a goal, and the gold of networking is to meet new people. But you don’t have to be scattered about it. Prior to any event, see if you can find out if certain people will be there who are worth meeting, whether a specific person or type of person (such as a fellow professional in a particular field). Having an idea of who you want to meet can give you purpose.
3) Work a Pattern
When you are at your event, have a pattern for getting around, whether you work a room from left to right, or right to left, or pick a high traffic area where you can pull people away to chat with. Have a way in which you will work the room and execute. Sometimes feeling a little more in control of your surroundings can help you feel more at ease.
4) Bring a Friend
It is easy to have a better time at a networking event when you bring a friend. You have a friendly face to turn to and you know that if all else fails, at least one person there, you are guaranteed to get along with.