Networking and Introverts
Today business is about liking, knowing, trusting - building relationships.
Today business is about liking, knowing, trusting – building relationships. It’s about stepping out from behind your computer and discovering the benefits of networking in person. For an introvert this can be overwhelming, scary and stressful.
From one introvert to another here are some tips to help you on your networking journey:
Why should you network in person? Magic happens when you meet in person. You make genuine connections and you can find those people you resonate with. You get to see you through other people’s eyes helping you to test your branding. You don’t need to meet everyone in the room – plan to meet 2 or 3 new people each meeting.
How do I decide which networking events to attend? It can be overwhelming – there are so many groups, meetings and gatherings to choose from. Choose the networking events that work for you – are they likeminded people you can grow with, are they your clients? How often do they meet? Pace your self don’t try and go to too many – be selective and look for the best return on investment for your time and energy. Do some research – try a couple to see which are the best fits for you and your message and then concentrate on them. Make a Plan. I go to monthly meetings that I space out over the month. I find this less overwhelming than attempting a weekly or fortnightly meeting.
How do I start a conversation? Ask questions . Ask what they do, what they like about the meeting, what challenges they are facing – even the weather can be a great way to break the ice. Think about what is trending in the news – is there a conversation starter you can use from the news. Use conversations starters such as commenting on the occasion, paying a compliment – “I like your corporate image, it is really colourful.”, be honest about how you feel – it’s okay to say This is the first time I have been here and I am a little nervous”.
Listen – this is an important skill that introverts excel at. Listen to the conversations going around you – listen to the introductions to help you target who you are going to connect with. Listen to the answers to the questions you ask. This will give you more information to build on for further conversation and connection.
Know your limits. Have a plan for retreat and recovery – this is especially important at longer network events such as conferences. Build in time for you to have time to yourself to re-energise. Relax in your room or outside and take a few moments to breathe and centre.
What do you find challenging when you network?