The fear of networking (or why I learned to love LinkedIn)
Updated: Jan 23, 2018
In real life.
Do I have to?
Since I've decided to work for myself again I know I have to 'get myself out there'. If I don't network, how else am I going to show everyone I'm a great person to work with? Despite the wonders of online networking ( I love LinkedIn), I know there's still a place for 'have a cup of coffee' get togethers. I know this.
In the scheme of 'things I hate doing', going to a networking event lies just behind the horror of public speaking. Walking into a room full of suits terrifies me and, despite my age and experience, I get struck with imposter syndrome.
What bit of freelancing means that you have to be confident about selling yourself? I can do eye contact, listening and I'm interested in people, but the thought of 'working the room' intimidates me. I'm most comfortable finding one or two people I click with and then not budging, which frankly defeats the purpose of networking.
For now I'm quite 'lucky' in that the majority of these events seem to fall over breakfast or the evening neither of which is any good if you have kids. I can justify to myself that, never mind, I can't go. I know there are groups for 'mumpreneurs' (a term I despise), but who says that mums who work for themselves only want to network with other mums who work for themselves? I mean, I've had years of soft play and the school run to do that.
The reality is I love making connections and I'm actually a rather social animal. LinkedIn has proven to be a fantastic platform to connect with like minded people and find leads. LinkedIn enables me to showcase all my skills and experience as well as being the perfect place to share blog posts. Im an open-netwoker aka a LION as I'm happy to connect with people I don't know; you never know wheb a new opportunity may present itself.
As far as real life goes, maybe I need to start up a 'networking for the terrified' event where us self-confessed scaredy cats can gather together in mutual awkwardness!
All hand holding and tips very much appreciated!
In the meantime, do me favour, check out my experience, read my blog to get a feel for who I am and reach out to me on LinkedIn so I can avoid the horror of real life business card swapping!