How can I get over my networking phobia?

How can I get over my networking phobia?

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I’m terrified of networking. Please give me some advice on what I can do to get over this.

Be brave. Indeed networking comes naturally to some and requires more effort from others. I, for one, enjoy meeting new people, but often I still need to dig deep and find the courage to introduce myself to someone for the first time.

The keys for me are: believe in yourself and remember we are all human. Think of networking as an opportunity to make a new “friend”, but be professional about it.

In terms of practical advice, get to the event early, that way your first encounter is a one-on-one and much easier to handle. Do this a few times and your confidence will grow, but you have just got to do it, until it becomes easier.

If you take on a “greeter” role thereafter, it makes it a lot easier to introduce yourself and meet others.

Darren Ryder
Darren Ryder is a business mentor at The Hope Factory, specialising in helping SMMEs establish and grow their businesses. He is passionate about South Africa and believes entrepreneurs will play a big role in our future economic development. Historically he has started and run his own business, having come out of full time ministry and 16 years in the manufacturing and textile industry, with a sales and analytical background.