By Brenna Lofquist, Marketing Coordinator for Heinz Marketing
Planning on attending a conference this year? Maybe a networking event? Does that also give you anxiety or make you nervous? Maybe veterans would say no but, for a lot of first timers, the answer is most likely yes.
This is a common feeling for many people but, one that few want to admit to or openly talk about it. However, it’s a very normal and something that I have dealt with in the past, especially in such a outgoing and communicative industry.
I have put together a couple tip and tricks that have helped me to overcome my nervousness and anxiety of attending a conference or networking event solo.
Don’t worry about what other people think
I think this is a big one for many people but also might be somewhat of a subconscious thought. It is highly likely there are other people attending the same event that are also feeling nervous or anxious about having to meet/talk to people. As hard as it may be, just forget about everyone else. The likelihood that they have even thought about you or even noticed you, is very small (harsh, but true).
Just introduce yourself!
Just walk right up to someone (make sure you aren’t interrupting) and introduce yourself. At an open house, recently, someone did this to me and it was really refreshing. It wasn’t weird and we had great conversations and learned about what each other does for work and even found some similarities and common ground. This may be hard for some people but, once you do, you will see how easy it really is.
A smaller, more intimate event might sound even more terrifying but you have a better chance of talking to more people in a smaller setting. There is most likely going to be someone who introduces themselves to you before you get a chance but, this should help you break out of your shell and feel more comfortable to engage with new people. I would recommend checking out the website meetup.com. This site is great not only because there are groups for every type of interest and activity, but also because you can narrow it down by city and find a smaller group.
These few things have made a big impact in helping to enrich my experiences, so try them out! In the end, anything you gain from a conference, networking event, or even a conversation with a stranger is added value.