Loathe networking? I get it, which is ironic coming from the founder of a networking organization in Denver. I understand how hard it is to get out there, meet new people, and initiate a conversation, only to find yourself strategizing how to get out of it.
Networking may very well be the single, most effective marketing and business-building activity that gets you in front of more leaders, connectors and influencers to produce an endless stream of referrals.
Fortunately, for introverts, and those extroverts or ambiverts who don’t enjoy networking, there’s been a shift in many business networking groups toward servanthood, being a Go-Giver and building relationships. Networking has gotten away from invading someone’s space and pushing and selling your products and services.
If you’re introverted, or one who loathes networking in general, you might find these eight suggestions helpful.
Understand networking is just like going to a dinner party at a friend’s house. Introverts have friends too. 😀
Be the first to ask a question to get the conversation started, putting the attention on them, not you.
Have a 60-second commercial-type answer prepared in case they ask “What do you do?” and then turn around and ask them another question. Most people’s favorite topic of conversation is themselves.
Make yourself useful by listening for needs and connecting them with any resources you know. People love helpful people.
If someone asks how they can help you, have an answer that helps them help you. For example, let them know who your ideal referral partner is – ask if they know someone to whom they could introduce you. It may feel a little out of your comfort zone but a great opportunity to allow them to help you. Gives them an opportunity to give back.
Know how you’ll end a conversation gracefully, without feeling awkward or that you’re hurting anyone’s feelings.
Get out of your head and lead more with your heart.
Above all else, be authentic to who you are and what suits you best. Don’t feel you must pretend to be the extrovert that you weren’t born to be. You’re best at being you.
Would any of these tips improve your networking experience? Or what has helped you network better as an introvert? Let us know in a comment below.
The best part about these suggestions is, they not only make networking a better experience for you, but also for those you network with. Happy New Year! May 2017 be your break-out year in networking!
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