Networking Is Like Swimming


By TARA SCHMAKEL, The ONCE Timid Networker

It’s spring and you’re heading to the pool for the first time of the season. It’s finally warm out. No, it’s downright hot! All you can think about is getting cool in the pool! You know it will be refreshing, you will be with friends or family that you have been looking forward to spending time with and you may even lose that glow in the dark look that you’ve been sporting all winter! You’re ready to get in, but before you do, you test the waters with your toe… IT’S FREEZING. You know that you want to get in, but you can’t just “jump in” like everyone is hollering out to you. So you go back on the deck to psych yourself up!

To a lot of people networking is just like getting into that pool for the first time. It’s too cold and instead of just jumping in, they retreat for another time or until they are ready.

So what can a person do to ease into networking? Three things will help:

1. Think positive– If you think the pool is too cold, it will be. If you think the event will be intimidating, it will be. Tell yourself how great it will be and how good it will feel to have the sense of accomplishment! Just like you psych yourself to get into the pool, you can psych yourself for the event!

2. Dress for success– There are certain items of clothing that are suitable for swimming. It would be challenging to go for a dip if you were wearing a snowmobile suit. It could actually hinder your progress and weigh you down and you could even drown. If you are wearing something inappropriate for networking, you can also take a dive. Dressing according to your business is always a good idea, but many find it helpful to dress it up a notch. They find that little extra, gives them confidence, not to mention an edge over their competition. Also, don’t forget your smile. The most important accessory you could put on!

3. Be prepared– To swim in a pool, you need to have the water ready. To network at an event, you need to have your words ready. Practice what to say when someone asks you what you do. Memorize a phrase or two that will just roll off your tongue. Once you are comfortable and a person is truly interested in what you do, you will find it easy to speak from the heart. You will also find it helpful to have business cards and your calendar along!

By practicing these tips and making them your own, it will become easier to attend a function, just like easing into the pool a little at a time. However, you may find you reach a certain level of comfort that you decide to just go all the way in. Whether you become numb to the effects of your mind or just reach a level of comfort, the result will be refreshing and satisfying and you may even build some relationships and get some business!

Tara Schmakel
The Workroom at Tara’s – I’ve had the entrepreneurial spirit since I was 6 when I started my first business. My methods have changed but my enthusiasm has remained child like. However being a person who felt easily intimidated and shy I was hindered. I have been the recipiant of so much assistance and belief from others and I want to give back. This blog is my story, my ups and downs and lessons learned not just by me, but also others who have felt the same. If I can give to one person what others have given me, then I have succeeded.

About Lisa Saline

I am compassionate about helping others with online and offline business concepts. While providing training and consulting for Social Media I also enjoy volunteer work. I've owned my own businesses since 2007. Networking both offline and online is a joy. Please connect with me and let me know what you are working on too.