As a new manager, it is a good idea to expand your network both inside and outside the organisation. But some of us are inhibited by fears of networking. It is more practical to confront these fears and develop strategies to overcome them.
Here are our tips for how to tackle common fears of networking:
1. Fear of rejection
Rejection happens everyday. It happens when you ask a peer out for lunch but she has made plans already or when your boss disagrees with you on how a project should be. Rejection hurts and it can make you feel worthless. Sometimes, you may come across people who seem to dismiss you or look down on you in your conversations. For every 10 people you meet, perhaps 1 or 2 conversations may not lead to your outcome. But know that networking is a numbers game and there is no reason to fear rejection if you continue to network with others. There will inevitably be setbacks along the way but you will stand to gain more than you lose.
2. Fear of embarrassment
When you start a conversation with someone, your mind may play tricks on you. You may dwell on whether you are saying the right thing or whether you people will be staring at your shirt. This may result in you not focusing on the conversation, responding in a halting manner and appearing to be nervous. The solution is to replace these negative thoughts with mental messages that reinforce your eagerness to listen and learn. Convince yourself that it is the way you carry yourself that matters more than the brand of clothes you are wearing.
3. Fear of boredom
You may come across people who brags a lot about themselves or you may get stuck in one of those mindless conversations and find yourself making excuses to get out of it. Either way, these one-way encounters may strike up fear in your mind about making more connections. Rather, try to awaken your curiosity and learn from even the most annoying or talkative people. Let them have a chance to stir your interest. Give yourself a fair chance of extracting valuable information by setting a time limit of 3 minutes before moving on or ending the conversation.
We hope that this article is helpful. Do you have any tips you would like to add?
Let us know in the comments and please share this post with a friend/colleague if you enjoyed it!
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