Networking, Part 1

This is an area I need to work on, so I thought I’d start by asking everyone for help.

I am truly terrible at networking. I am so shy that it’s painful. I’m one of those people sitting in a conference by herself, watching everybody else talking, and wondering how they do it. If I go with a friend, then I’ll talk to the friend, but that’s it. I’ll talk with someone who starts a conversation with me, but as for starting my own conversation, I draw a big blank.

I try to be friendly. I try to smile and say hello. I try to look confident (when I’m really shaking in my boots). But all that comes of it is a big nothing. Am I doing something wrong?

Don’t misunderstand me; it’s not that I don’t like to talk to friends. If I know you, then I’ll gladly talk with you. And I’ve given presentations before that have turned out fine. I used to perform in high school – so big audiences don’t scare me. So if I know you, or if there’s a big room of people who I have to talk to – then I’m fine. But the individual one-on-one talking to strangers – I rot at it.

How do you do it? How do you become outgoing and friendly and talk with people? Is it something you’re born with and just lucky that way? Or is it something you can learn?

The next two blog entries I have are also on networking – the professional group aspect and the social networking aspect. Because they are both sides of the same diamond – just different facets.

As always, comments and opinions are welcome. I’m really looking forward to your help!

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