Do you hesitate to enter networking events sometimes? Do you spend a lot of time with people who you know when networking? Do you avoid opportunities to public speak or give you 30-second introduction to a room full of networkers. Do you delay your follow up with the key people that you meet? If so, you may need to actively work to expand your comfort zone.
Whether you think expanding your comfort zone is easy or hard, you are absolutely right. The primary step to expand your comfort zone is to...STOP DOING THE THINGS THAT MAKE YOU COMFORTABLE!
- Before entering your next networking event, set a goal. Identify specific people who you want to meet by name or discipline. Take a minute before you enter, in your car if you drove, and review your plan. Walk in with a purpose...use your best skills to connect with the contacts that will be most meaningful. You’ll find it much easier to fully commit yourself to events when you are purposeful.
- At your next networking event, talk only to people who you don’t know. Whether it is a sitting or standing event your role is to meet as many new people as you can. Get uncomfortable...choose to be a part of new groups of people that you don’t know where possible. Be curious...learn about them.
- At your next networking event, be the first to volunteer to speak. You might be giving your 30-second introduction or giving feedback. It doesn't matter. Exercise your participation muscle.
- After your next networking event, call all of the people that you met on your way to your next destination. You’ll probably get their voicemail...that’s OK. Let them know it was great to meet them and that you are looking forward to learning more about them. Where it is appropriate suggest some times for getting together one-on-one. Ask them to confirm a day and time that works best for them.