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Moment Of Clarity

5 Surefire Ways to Reduce Networking Anxiety

The BOSS Network founder Cameka Smith shares tips for successful networking.

If you’re new at networking, you either love it or hate it. Some people are natural networkers who look forward to the opportunity to meet new people and talk about all kinds of stuff. On the other hand, some people are reserved and shy, which can make it difficult for them to open up and connect.

For those of you who shy away from networking, it may be hard to believe that networking can be a lot of fun, especially if the thought of networking gives you more than just butterflies.

For those of you who are looking for a way to deal with anxiety around networking, try the following:

1) Know Where You’re Going. Take time to get some basic information about the event and who is attending. This will help you better prepare to meet the people in attendance and identify some talking points. For example, if you’re an attorney and plan to go to a women’s entrepreneurism event, you may want to understand the legal needs of entrepreneurs. Once you understand their legal needs, you can begin thinking about how to best position yourself as a valuable resource.

2) Practice Your Pitch. Craft your 30-second elevator pitch about who you are and how you help people or companies solve specific problems.

3) Learn to Relax. Everyone who knows me knows I am a big relaxation advocate. You perform your best when your mind is calm and your body is relaxed. It also helps those around you relax and feel calm as well, which is an important part of networking. Some great ways to relax are meditation, positive self-talk, visualization, and breathing.

4) Know Your Triggers. Take note of when you get anxious and what happened right before you become nervous. This is probably your trigger. When you are aware of your triggers, you can better prepare yourself and use one of your relaxation techniques to help calm you down.

5) Believe in Yourself/Product. How confident are you in … YOU? A big part of networking is believing in your ability and/or the product that you are selling. When you walk into a networking event keep in mind that everyone there is a person, too, and gets nervous from time to time. If you remember that you bring something valuable to the table, your anxiety can shrink in a short amount of time.

I hope this was helpful! If you find yourself getting stuck with networking anxiety, a coach or therapist can be helpful. Some people get past their anxiety around networking in just one session.

With love and light, I wish you pleasant networking journeys.

Jinnie Cristerna, LCSW, CHt.

Jinnie Cristerna, LCSW, CHt.

Do you have a question for our “Moment of Clarity” JET Therapist, Jinnie? Email us at digitalpitches@ebony.com. We’ll be sure to keep it anonymous and confidential. 

Jinnie Cristerna, affectionately known as “The High Achievers Therapist”, works with talented people to help them release emotional pain and psychological roadblocks so they can achieve their personal and professional goals. Specializing in psychotherapy, heart centered hypnotherapy, vibrational energy, meditation, and personality development, Jinnie has a nearly 90 percent success rate with her clients.  Sign up for Jinnie’s High Achiever newsletter here or join her on Facebook and Twitter!