In a New York Times survey on social anxiety, people were asked what they were most frightened of. Death came third! The top two fears were walking into a room full of strangers and speaking in public.
  1. Rationalise your fears
    Why are you so frightened? Most fears of networking relate to a fear of rejection or childhood influences ("Don't talk to strangers!"). Are those fears really relevant to a networking event?
  2. Remind yourself why you, and others, are there
    If it's an event designed to help people make new connections then it's imperative that you DO approach strangers
  3. Set yourself achievable goals
    Aim to meet one new person at your first event, two at your second and so on. Gradually it will get easier.
  4. Get there first
    After all, who will the second person speak to?
  5. Approach people standing on their own
    The chances are that they haven't gone to a networking event for solitude. In fact, they are suffering in the same way as you. Just don't leave them back on their own when your conversation ends.