How to Make Networking Comfortable

Very few people argue with the value of networking, so why do people resist doing it? Aside from all the excuses–I don’t have time, I’m not a good networker, I don’t like to network–what’s the REAL reason people resist networking?  I was reading a book the other day called “Manifesting for Non-Gurus,” which was written by my friend Robert MacPhee (pictured at right) whom I’m in the Transformational Leadership Council with, and the book explains a concept which I think gets right to the core of this question–Comfort Zones.

The real reason most people do not network is because it makes them uncomfortable.

We’ve all heard about the concept of Comfort Zones before.  However, Robert explains it in a very unique way. He talks about how our resistance to doing something new often shows up as wanting to continue to do what is comfortable–even if it is not working well for usIn outlining his “Manifesting for Non-Gurus” approach, Robert explains that a comfort zone exists when our beliefs about who we are match the results we are getting. Think about it . . . if you consider yourself to be a great networker, do you show up at a networking meeting or event and present yourself differently than someone who thinks of himself as a poor networker?  Who is more comfortable?

Are you a great networker?

Hopefully you can answer this question with a highly-confident YES.  Unfortunately, most businesspeople would probably answer with a resounding NO.  Their image of themselves is of not being a great networker so, to remain comfortable, they will avoid networking, despite the fact that they know networking is valuable. Crazy, right?  Yet, we all know people who do this.

Fortunately, Robert explains that there is a very simple solution for anyone stuck in this kind of comfort zone.  It starts with a simple decision that part of who you are is a great networker. To declare that you love meeting new people, sharing what you do, and helping them in any way you can.  Start thinking about networking events as the valuable, exciting opportunities they are, instead of as dreaded situations that will pull you from your comfort zone.  This is the way successful networkers see themselves and perceive networking functions and that is a huge part of why they are successful networkers.

So, what about that voice in your head saying, “What about the evidence that seems to support the fact that I am not such a great networker?”  Well, according to Robert, that’s just your comfort zone crying out to reel you back in because the “I am a great networker” statement doesn’t match your current results.  If a “great networker” is who you want to be, the next step is to continue to declare that you are a great networker and “act as if” until the results you want start to show up!  This is the same thing you have done your whole life with any new skill you successfully learned.

Robert teaches a simple five step approach to making these kinds of changes more quickly and easily, getting out of our current comfort zones, trying new things and creating the lasting results we want.  I highly recommend his work.  Maybe we can get him to write “Networking for Non-Gurus” next . . . 😉

For more information about Robert and his work, please visit

11 thoughts on “How to Make Networking Comfortable

  1. Like most skills, few are blessed with it. You have to work at it, push yourself when you don’t feel like it and follow through. Don’t take rejection personal. They’re not rejecting you, they’re rejecting your offer. Focus on building a relationship, not your sales pitch. We build trust in person and the more you can do that, the better of a networker you will become.

  2. This post is dead on! A lot of people are not comfortable networking, but they have to realize that with any new skill “practice makes perfect”! You can practice networking anywhere from a party to a playground with your kids. Strike up a conversation with someone. A simple hello will go a long way. It’s all about building relationships… no matter where you are.

  3. Your both dead on. I was not good at networking and have really had to work and practice hard at it. It’s way to easy to just pass a person up instead of striking up a conversation but doing that leaves way to much opportunity to grow on the table. In consulting it’s and absolute winner.

  4. Wow what a great post! I grew up on a farm in ND and then went into the USAF and neither taught me about networking. As you can guess I was not comfortable with it but I knew I needed to grow my accounting practice. Over the last four years I know I have gotten better with it since my revenue is 95 % from BNI referrals. I am basically an introvert and it takes a lot of practice to become an extrovert.

  5. Agreed, it is dead on 🙂
    I used to avoid networking, or be a reluctant networker.
    Eventually I learned that I had approached it all from a perspective that was unhelpful : I was trying to sell rather than network.
    Now I enjoy meeting people, I enjoy connecting people, and I enjoy helping them. At last networking seems like a fun and enjoyable activity.
    But I had to make decisions first about why and how I was going to network, and that was difficult at first.
    I also keep having to remake those decisions to remind myself 🙂

  6. I love networking and meeting new people, and I think you hit it spot on as why. I don’t go therefore to sell- I go there to meet people, to hear people’s ideas, dreams and plans and make connections between people. It’s a real shame when people feel a sense of pressure there. It’s like a chance to meet a tonne of new people in an efficient way, and connect with some, introduce others into the mix and hear lots of interesting stories. Lovely! Thanks for the thoughts!

  7. Baby steps will get you there. Massive change won’t happen over night so by making small goals, and gradually changing our vision of ourselves, we can get to the point of proudly proclaiming a love for meeting new people and walking into rooms full of people we don’t yet know. Think of it in terms of shades and it’s easier to picture yourself “there”.

  8. Of course, this assumes people who don’t think they are good at networking, can turn around and say “ah, I just need to tell myself I’m good at networking!”

    So, in a sense you’re saying You can if you thin you can.

    Or to quote the famous: “If you think you can, or think you can’t, you’re right”

    Methinks the people with the biggest opportunity perhaps, but challenge doing it…. might need more than Nike’s ‘Just do it’.

    I enjoyed the article though.

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