Business Etiquette: Overcoming Minglephobia or Fear of Networking

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Networking GroupWhen you think of attending a networking event, do you suffer from an attack of “minglephobia” of fear of networking? Some people thoroughly enjoy these opportunities to mix and mingle with business clients and potential customers. They welcome the chance to meet and talk with total strangers. Other people would rather schedule a root canal than face a room of people whom they barely know.

Here are a few tips to help you deal with the fear of networking and turn each one of these events into a profitable experience.

  1. Understand what networking is not. It is not about seeing how many hands you can shake or how many business cards you can collect.
  2. Understand what networking is. It is an opportunity to connect with people and build your business relationships.
  3. To be a successful networker, you need to know who will be attending the event. If you can’t get names, at least know which organizations will be represented.
  4. Plan in advance what you will talk about. Have specific topics in mind for those people whom you plan to see.
  5. Be prepared with a least three subjects you can discuss with anyone, whether they are strangers or people whom you already know. The best way to do this is to be up to date on current events. If you can’t make conversation, you can’t make connections.
  6. Listen more than you talk. People enjoy talking about themselves so give them the opportunity. You will learn more by listening, and the people you meet will think you are a great conversationalist.
  7. Arrive on time so you can become comfortable with the venue and be able to meet people as they arrive. If you join an event already underway, it will be more difficult to join conversations.
  8. Have plenty of your business cards with you and have them readily accessible. The person who has to fumble for a business card appears unprepared and unprofessional.
  9. Have a follow up plan for those people with whom you’d like to create or maintain a business relationship. As soon as you get back to your office, look at those business cards and decide whether you want to call someone, send an email or invite a person to lunch.

The successful networkers always attend events with confidence and assurance. They have a plan of action and a goal of growing their business by connecting with people face to face. Social media is no substitute for a personal encounter.

Here’s to overcoming your fear of networking!

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Photo from Savannah magazine

Hire Lydia to work with your staff to improve customer service and employee relations through the use of those priceless and often over-looked soft skills called manners. Lydia is the “unstuffy” business etiquette expert who helps individuals and organizations add the polish that builds profits. We’re talking about your bottom line here.

Since 1996, countless people have benefited from her wisdom through keynotes, seminars and conference breakout sessions.  Her Southern charm and sense of humor have made her a sought-after speaker and consultant.

Based in Savannah, Georgia, Lydia is available for national, regional and local speaking and training engagements. She has suitcase; will travel.

Contact her via email at or call 912-598-9812. Sign up for her free monthly newsletter and visit her website,


2 thoughts on “Business Etiquette: Overcoming Minglephobia or Fear of Networking

  1. Stephanie


    Enjoy reading your great articles each month.
    Can you share some advice on office gossipers and how to avoid their deceitful gossip? I work in a setting (this bugs me) whereby a person will come to me and badly gossip about someone and later that day you will see them laughing and talking with the individual they just put down.
    How can you deal with a gossiper even though you have to work in close proximity with him/her? HELP! (Sometimes telling them you’re busy doesn’t help – they just push themselves on you).

    Thank you for your help.

    1. Lydia Ramsey Post author

      Stephanie, I know this kind of situation is difficult to handle. I suggest being direct with this person and telling him or her that you don’t have time to talk about your co-worker. A simple reply that says, “I don’t have the time and don’t care to talk about someone behind their back. If you will excuse me, I have work to do.” Being direct is the only way to get your point across.


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