Why You Should Ride Solo to Your Next Networking Event

This article has been syndicated from Daily Cup of JOJO, an InfluenceHer Collective Member. Read the full post here

LBR: networking events, as valuable as they can be for jump-starting your career and meeting people in your field, aren't necessarily my favorite social event to attend. They can feel a little awkward, and TBH, pretty anxiety-inducing.
 
My first thought when that invitation comes across my screen is usually, "well, there's no way I'm suffering through this alone," and I plan to grab whoever is available and is remotely interested in the event. But as tempting as it may be to bring your wing woman along to that next networking event, you may have more to gain when you go alone. Here are a couple of reasons why you might not want to bring that friend to your next network event and try it out solo. 
 

Having a friend or colleague there distracts from the business networking reasons you are there

You end up clinging to that person and letting them make all of the decisions. Let’s say you ask if they want to walk around and if they say no, you’re probably going to concede because you don’t want to leave their side and they probably don’t want to leave your side. From then, you will stay put in one area chitchatting about stuff that is completely irrelevant instead of circling the room. 

Overshadowing is real, and really annoying

Let's say you do bring someone who is super extroverted and you will have no problem meeting others with them by your side. That sounds way too good to be true, all glory but no work? No. There is a good chance that friend will overshadow you. This is especially frustrating if you are both in the same field. Hello?! You brought them to this event and they walk out with all of the business connects. Ugh, rough. 

The perfect opportunity for building your confidence 

Don't let negative self-talk make you think that you can't attend this event on your own. Fears like not knowing what to say if someone talks to you or what to do if no one talks to you are valid, but can and should be challenged! Grow your own confidence and push yourself out of your comfort zone at these networking events. Plus, the more practice you have networking, the easier it will get. 
 
TBH, I've realized that I use wing people as a scapegoat to not talk to anybody which completely defeats the purpose of networking. By going alone, I'm most definitely getting better at this whole uncomfortable networking concept, so don't be afraid to try it!
 

Read the full post here