As a newbie Toastmaster, I secretly prayed I wouldn’t be called on during Table Topics. It wasn’t because I didn’t have a clue on what to say. It was due to the pressure.
I felt so much pressure I could barely talk.
One was expected to
Follow a format, “Mr. Topic Master, fellow Toastmasters and guests. . .”
A) Use the word of the day. Frequently the word of the day had nothing to do with the question asked.
B) One had one to two minutes to answer the question.
C) Be evaluated.
One might feel intense pressure when networking.
“You never get a second chance to make a first impression.” “First impressions are made in six seconds or less.”
One forgets attending a networking function for the first time is similar to meeting someone you don’t know at a party at your best friend’s home.
At the party, it’s easy to introduce yourself. “Hi, I’m Lisa. It’s nice to meet you. How do you know BFF?”
At a networking function . . .
“What am I going to say?” “Do I look Okay?” “How will I fit in?” “What if no one will talk to me???”
OMG . . .So much PRESSURE!!!
One can always grab some food and bury their head in their phone. After all, that BIG EMERGENCY cannot wait!
Or. . .
• One can take a deep breath, smile and sit next to someone who looks friendly. Ask, “Is this seat taken?”
• Give a sincere compliment.
• Start a conversation. “Hi, I’m Lisa. Nice to meet you. I’m a first-time attendee. How about you? How long have you been a member?”
• If the weather is newsworthy, ask about the weather. Were you affected by last night’s storm?
• Ask someone for their card and look at it.
• Ask what type of company is XYZ company. Listen, then ask another question.
• That person will ask about your company.
• Be prepared with short answers. “I work with entrepreneurs and help them navigate the maze of business networking. “
• Let the conversation flow naturally.
• Don’t’ be upset if someone says, “Please excuse me. There’s someone I want to say hello to.” Say, “it was nice to meet you. “
Take another deep breath and congratulate yourself. You successfully had a conversation with someone you didn’t previously know. You are on your way to becoming a Networking Rock Star.
I’m curious. What is your biggest networking challenge? Reply, in the comments.
Do you feel overwhelmed, stressed or don’t know where to start when networking?
I can help. Let’s have a conversation.