Stumbling Blocks To Successful Networking
Written by Craig Warren
Five Stumbling Blocks To Successful Networking And How To
The ability to connect with people is essential to
success in any business. Professional networking events
present opportunities to interact with others on a
personal level and to develop profitable relationships.
These occasions are critical for anyone who wants to grow
a business or promote a career.
Many people are simply not comfortable walking into a
room full of strangers and striking up conversations.
Here are five common stumbling blocks that you may face
and tips to help you overcome them.
A Reluctance To Talk To Strangers
You were taught at an early age not to speak to people
you don’t know. It’s not safe. In certain situations
today this is still good advice. In business, however,
talking to strangers is a way to generate interest and
support for your products and services. If you only talk
to the people you already know, you will miss out on
opportunities to make new connections and establish
To get past your discomfort in talking to strangers, set
a goal for yourself before you attend any networking
event. Decide how many new contacts you want to make or
how many strangers you want to meet. In some cases, you
may specifically target individuals whom you’d like to
Next come up with some icebreakers or conversation
starters. Have questions prepared that you can ask
anyone you meet at the event. You may want to inquire
about other people’s business, their connection to the
sponsoring organization or their opinion of the venue.
Lack Of A Formal Introduction
It’s much easier to make a new contact when there is
someone else to handle the introduction and pave the way.
If you wait for another person to make the move you may
not meet anyone. At networking events, the goal is to
meet as many people as possible.
This is the time to take the bull by the horns, walk up
to people you don’t know, introduce yourself and start a
conversation. You can do this if you have prepared your
self-introduction in advance.
You will not introduce yourself the same way on every
occasion. Perhaps it is your first time to attend an
association meeting. In that case, you might want to
say that as part of your introduction. Let people know
who you are, why you are there and give them a reason
to ask more about you.
Fear Of Being Seen As Pushy
You may think that you will turn people off if you are
assertive and that if they want to talk to you, they will
make the first move. If this is your line of thinking you
will find yourself spending your time alone at the
reception or meeting function and leaving without a
single new connection. Being open, friendly and
interested does not turn people off.
You will not come across as overly aggressive if you seek
out the “approachable” people. These are the ones who are
standing alone or who are speaking in groups of three or
more. Two people talking to each other are not
approachable because they may be having a private
conversation and you would be interrupting.
Thinking That Other People May Not Like You
There is always the risk that the other person is not
interested in you and doesn’t want to meet or talk to
you. It happens. If that is the case, don’t take it
personally. Nothing ventured is nothing gained. When you
get a cold shoulder, smile, move on and say to yourself,
Having Your Intentions Misunderstood
Approaching someone of the opposite sex to begin a
conversation may seem more like flirting than networking.
This is more of an issue for women than men. Women have
an equal place in the work arena and need to make
professional connections the same as men do. Women in
business can no longer afford to hold back when there is
opportunity at hand.
Neither men nor women will have their motives
misinterpreted if they present themselves professionally
in their attire and if they keep the conversation focused
on business issues or topics that are not personal or
Whatever your stumbling blocks, face them before the next
networking event and devise a personal plan for getting
past them. Once you do, you will find yourself connecting
with confidence and courtesy on every occasion and the
results will be reflected in your bottom line.
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