Networking as an intern when you are afraid of people and talking is tough.
First and foremost, to network is literally to 'interact with other people to exchange information and develop contacts, especially to further one's career."
So if you want to network with people a big step (arguably essential) is actually being able to talk to people.
So what do you do when you're an intern embarking into your career and you're afraid of both talking and people? How do you make those important connections?
You're probably really worried, and I get your concerns. Furthermore I'm not saying it's going to be easy since you fail most of the criteria from the get-go (you awkward fella)
But let's at least get you a fighting chance in reaching your super star intern aspirations.
1. Practice makes okay
Yeah you heard me. Practice makes okay. You're never going to be perfect at networking - it sucks you dry and spits you out and it's even harder when you are afraid of talking to people. But we can get you to be okay!!!
I would start small and talk to the mirror. Just look at the mirror, rehearse some openers and practice introducing yourself to yourself. Say things such as " Hi, I am Greg" over and over again until you got the name introduction down. Eventually graduate from this phrase and add in extras such as "Hi, I am Greg. What is your name?" Little things man, its all about the little things.
2. Work on your handshake
Physical contact is inevitable when you are out and about networking. Trust me that when someone extends their hand to shake your hand it's going to take some mad avoidance skills to not shake that hand. What are you going to do? Walk away? Pretend it's not there? You're not a ninja... probably.
Thankfully, shaking a hand is scientific and can be broken down into key steps. There is actually a definitive guide on how to handshake as an intern on my blog, so check that out.
3. Be a good listener and ask questions
Listening is not emphasised much, and good listeners are hard to find. Networking isn’t about making a sales pitch. It’s about asking good questions and listening to what people have to say. Focus on the person you’re talking to, and you’ll find that a lot of the pressure goes away.
Furthermore, everyone is always kind of in their own sphere. You know how sometimes you spill coffee on yourself and you walk around thinking everyone is staring at you? You obsess over it and it drives you insane. But.. nobody notices. Literally noone gives and fwarks. Why? BECAUSE PEOPLE ONLY CARE ABOUT THEMSELVES. IT'S AWESOME!!! So why shoud you be worried yourseld?
You'll find that you wont actually have to talk at all. Just agree with what they said and ask a follow up. Works everytime.
As you can see..
Networking as an intern doesn't have to be difficult. You can survive most networking events (and most of life really) just by realising the pressure isn't on you to be super interesting or likeable.
I also like to think that everyone in the room is also hating the situation as well - it's such a fabricated and forced situation. So why should you worry?
Smile my friends.eally good guide on networking that would apply to more people.