These tips have been tried and tested by many of my clients over 5 years and also by me personally (cause sometimes we all have a wobble). Sometimes the simplest things can make all the difference.
Here's my 10 Proven ways to conquer those nerves:
1) Choose your networking group - With so many different ones available you don't have to throw yourself in the deep end. Go to a small or informal group to get started. Some you don't even do a 60 seconds, just grab a drink and say hi to someone.....which leads me to my next point...........
2) Everyone is on your side - Every single person in that room was once a newbie so they know exactly how you feel. Everyone is there for the same reason and actually people are expecting you to randomly say hi to someone, its Networking thats what everyone does.
3) Start the conversation by talking about them - Take the pressure off you, start the conversation by asking about them but the trick here is to really listen to the answer and start a real conversation.
4) The run up - It's important to get the run up right, if you focus on how awful an experience it will be that's exactly what you'll experience. Turn your thoughts to the good things, the opportunity to chat to interesting people, a delicious lunch ;) Maybe visit the venue so you know where you're going. Do everything you can to make the run up calm, exciting and you're more likely to feel calmer and more excited.
5) Breath - If you feel your pulse start to race take some deep relaxing breaths and focus on just breathing. That's it, just your breathing, in and out. This sends a message to your brain to say you're calm and will bring your pulse under control.
6) Prepare - If you do need to say something to introduce your business, prepare what you're going to say. Think about what you'd like to know about someone else's business and that's the info you need to say about yours (or maybe take a friend and introduce each other, its far easier to introduce someone else!!)
7) Find out the details - Ask the organiser for details, how many people usually come, how does the format work, what are you expected to wear, what do people usually talk about etc. There's nothing worse than walking in and being the odd one out. Finding out the details can help you prepare and feel comfortable that you know what to expect.
8) It takes time - My first networking meeting was far from perfect, I didn't say everything I wanted to say, it takes time. I've been perfecting my patter at networking meetings for years now, it sounds awesome and natural but it didn't start that way!!!!! Very few people in that room did. It takes practise you have to do it over and over and over.
9) Mistakes are ok - I haven't been to a networking meeting yet where someone new has been laughed at, or called out because they messed up, NEVER......not even once. Everyone is so supportive and right behind you every step of the way so if you mess up it's absolutely ok, take a breath, smile and carry on!!!!
10) Go for it - Often the idea is much worse than the reality. Our brains can create monsters where there aren't any. Sometimes we're better off not thinking, not wondering, just book one and go for it.
I hope you find these useful, give them a go and see how you do. If you'd like some more support download my free video series, it will give you an even better understanding of how your brain works and how to help it do what you want. Access it by clicking on the green box on the right.
If you have some tips which I haven't included here, feel free to share them in the comments box below I'd love to hear them.
Until next time