Undergraduate Blog / Career Development

How I Overcame My “Networking” Fears

The idea of introducing myself to successful people has always terrified me. Overcoming this fear, also known as networking, has been one of my top goals for the past three years of my life. Incredibly, a few days ago, during a work-related event, a co-worker complimented my “networking skills”. As soon as he said that I noticed that I was comfortably networking with hundreds of business owners from different parts of my country. After reflecting on what helped me overcome my fear, I understand that my internship helped me empower networking skills in two ways:

First, being a new intern forced me to create a mental script in order to introduce myself. I work in a co-working space, meaning that many different enterprises share the same floor and in some cases, the same office. My presence prompted the curiosity of many people who stopped by my desk and asked hundreds of questions about my background. Although it might sound tedious, this constant interaction actually helped me learn how to introduce myself and how to predict what people are going to ask me. Being able to predict questions is essential when networking because if you can predict questions, you will always have an answer no matter what people ask.

Second, the constant interaction with business owners and workers from different fields helped me lose my fear of introducing myself to entrepreneurs. More than one time I had long conversations with people who said they “worked” for an enterprise when in fact, they owned it. This helped me realize that there is no reason to be afraid of business owners since they can be as nice and calm as every other person. Being calm when networking is highly important because we are more confident and able to show our true potential, things that we generally cannot achieve when under pressure.

In these few weeks of internship, I learned that exposing myself to new people is one of the best ways to develop networking skills. In my case, being a new intern in a co-working space forced me to get out of my comfort zone and learn how to talk to people and make connections. If you would like to improve your networking skills you could do something as simple as joining a club!