Why Networking is Scary, and Why You Shouldn’t be Scared!

Let’s be honest. It’s very rare we meet a person who is totally pumped about walking up to a complete stranger and chatting them up, especially about something professional! I mean, what if they don’t like your tie? Or what if they think girls shouldn’t be in this field? Or what if they just say NO? It’s extremely difficult because you never know what the other person will say or do, or what they think. How do you start a conversation like that??

Some of you may have seen the movie “We Bought a Zoo,” which has a great line in it about only needing 20 seconds of pure courage. This is so true when it comes to networking. All you need is 20 seconds of courage to walk across the room, introduce yourself, and shake hands. In 20 seconds, they can’t say no. Because really, how many times have you walked up to someone and they started waving their hands and ran away screaming “NOOOOOOO NOT YOU!!!!!!”? See? Think about this. If they didn’t want to connect, why would they be at a networking event or schedule an informational interview? Hmmm? The thing that gets to us is the discomfort of not knowing. But you DO know. They wouldn’t be there if it was going to be a No.

Now, it’s important to keep in mind that there are certain things they may say no to. That’s why you shouldn’t ask them for an internship or job right then and there. But they can certainly take your business card or resume.

And never, ever feel like you have to do this alone. Use your alread established network, like on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, if anyone is attending an upcoming networking event. Then maybe you can go there together. Don’t go from person to person together, but you’ll feel better knowing there’s a familiar face in the crowd. Or, if you’re setting up informational interviews, start with a family friend or an alum, and then go out from there.

You are never the only person in the city, state, country, or world, searching for a job or internship. Never.

Just take that leap, stop listening to the voice in your head saying “NO NO NO NO I DON’T WANT TO!” and use that 20 seconds of courage.

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