Networking is an important part of establishing and building business contacts and relationships. But it’s also an introvert’s nightmare. Below are ways an introvert can make the most of networking
I am a huge introvert. I find being in new circles and making small talks very difficult and intimidating. I often have to pinch myself into attending events, which I know are an important part of sustaining any business. A lot of business people have mentioned that they sustained their businesses from the relationships they have built from many social and work related events. A lot of the contacts I have made are from networking and although I would rather read a good book in my bed than find myself in a new environment I know the value and the importance of networking. If, like me, you dread networking try the following guidelines I find helpful when I attend networking events.
- Smile: Your body language is an indirect communication to how you want people to treat you. If you stand or sit at a corner, folding your arms or staying glued to your phone it doesn’t serve you well. Take a deep breath, smile and look casual. This will sure invite someone to start a conversation with you.
- Save the day: Try to identify someone who is alone and quiet. Chances are they are introverts just like you. Walk up to them and initiate a conversation.
- Engage: A trick I have tried is directing a conversation to getting to know the person I engage with, instead of allowing awkward silences. Ask a person about their job or business and build a conversation from that. From that conversation, talk about the actual event, from the venue to the food!
- Aim for quality, not quantity: I have found that it’s better to build one or two meaningful contacts rather than trying to get to know everyone. Rather exchange business cards that you will actually use after the event.
- How is the vibe? I am not shy to say that there are some cliques or people I have found difficult to gel with. In that case I would politely excuse myself and mingle with other people. This would also happen to me and I don’t take it personally because I believe the tribe we want to attract should gel with our vibe.
- Don’t oversell: Depending on the kind of event you are attending make sure that you don’t overwhelm people by trying to close deals. Some people want to unwind and socialise. Use the atmosphere to your advantage but don’t overdo it.
How do you successfully network?