The following is a Guest Post written by Cathy Jennings / No Pressure Networking!
Does walking into a room full of people at an event, conference or networking meeting feel intimidating or uncomfortable to you?
You are NOT alone!
(Confession time – it scares my stilettos off sometimes, too!)
Nobody said that you have to network on your own. In fact, isn’t it more in line with what networking is all about to do it WITH someone else?
This is where The Buddy System comes in.
1. Choose Your Buddy.
Choose a friend or colleague who knows enough about you and your business to talk about it to someone new. Also, look for someone who actually LIKES networking, or one who is good at it or someone who is committed to using relationship building as part of growing her business. This will ensure that you don’t end up hiding in a corner somewhere exchanging networking horror stories instead of making great connections.
2. Share Your Goals.
Before going to the event, be sure to share your networking goals and what you hope to accomplish by attending. Set 1 or 2 measureable goals ( Ex. make 3 new contacts in the banking industry or polish and perfect my new introduction/elevator pitch by using it at least 5 times, etc.). Share with your “buddy” any areas that you wish to have help with and be specific about how they can support you during the event.
3. Take Turns Taking the Lead.
Attend an event together and alternate “taking the lead.” Take turns approaching new people and introducing one another to the people you meet. When making introductions, “brag” for your partner a little by telling the new contact why your “buddy” is so good at what they do. It always sounds so much better when someone else toots your horn!
4. Support and Encourage.
Be supportive and encouraging to one another and offer constructive feedback regarding your connecting skills.
The purpose of going with a buddy is to alleviate some of the stress and awkwardness that comes from being “all on your own.” It also gives you a great way to be accountable for achieving your connecting goals.
Have you ever used the Buddy System? If so, hit reply and let me know your experience and any tips you have for making it a success.
Cathy Jennings is a self-described situational extrovert with a slight cheesecake obsession. She is a speaker, author and the Chief Conversation Starter for No Pressure Networking and loves teaching women entrepreneurs and professionals how to put some personality and profit into their connecting -- by leveraging their face-to-face meetings and the power of social media as relationship marketing and business-building tools.
Visit her at www.NoPressureNetworking.com for lots of great tips and strategies for turning your everyday conversations into GREAT business opportunities!