Networking

by Heather White

Always a reason not to go?

Which are the reasons/excuses that you give when invited to a social or professional event:

Those painful conversations that... ‘...seemed to have entered one of those vicious circles to which only the death or collapse from exhaustion of one of the participants can put an end.’

Stella Gibbons, Cold Comfort Farm
  • Too busy
  • Not enough time
  • Won’t know anyone
  • Lack confidence
  • Very shy
  • Don’t know what to say to strangers
  • Don’t really like people that much
  • Hate brown nosing
  • Feel that I will be forced to ‘join in’
  • Won’t know what to say to people
  • Most won’t want to talk to me as I am only a junior person
  • What if no one will speak to me?

Your reasons for not going to an event are very, very common and you will hear them from people in every walk of life and at every level.

We can condense these reasons down into the fear of rejection, or of sounding or looking stupid, and lack of confidence.

So what can we do? There are a number of strategies you could try. Just before you read through the list below, think on these things:

  1. How important do you think networking is to your career?
  • If you answered ‘important’ or ‘very important’, then my job is a lot easier because you are willing – with willing people everything is possible.
  • If you answered ‘not very important’ or ‘perhaps’, then we have a bit of a problem; perhaps you should look at Why you should network – the benefits.
  • Perhaps you are unwilling and don’t have any desire to do it – to be honest, going to events is just not for you. So don’t do it – there are other ways to network (see Networking for homeworkers).
  1. Networking, building relationships and finding the right contacts does take time and effort. Are you willing to be patient and purposely seek ways of doing this?
  • If you answered ‘yes’, then again we can help you.
  • If you answered ‘no’, read the section Why you should network and, if you have already done that, read the page on Creating champions; if that does not work, then networking will not work for you. So stop putting pressure on yourself and those in your team and find another route.