“Most new entrepreneurs dread networking. The thought conjures up sweaty palms and overcooked chicken, awkward pauses and a pounding heart.” Sound familiar? That’s a quote from Pamela Slim, who went on to tell the story of how a 9-year-old kid named Austin who was new to her neighborhood went about making new friends and getting introduced to someone he wanted to know.
I couldn’t tell the story any better than Pam did, so take it from her and then come back here and think about which of Austin’s techniques you could use, even if your heart is pounding. Because that’s the hard part — getting past yourself. If I were you, I’d start with the last technique: Be nice to everyone. That was really Austin’s first step; he started by talking to someone who looked open to conversation even though it wasn’t someone his age. Don’t discriminate. At that next networking event, introduce yourself to that other shy person who is standing alone, or stay near the registration table and catch people before they get into groups. Once you engage in a conversation, then you can apply Austin’s other techniques. But start somewhere.