Whether you hate networking or love it, we can all agree that it goes hand in hand with running a successful business. This may come naturally to all you extroverts out there, but introverts and the socially awkward don’t have it as easy when it comes to making connections.
While extroverts are the life of the party, introverts do better in smaller settings and tend to be better listeners. Then there’s the shy and socially awkward who avoid human contact at all costs in fear of being judged.
Which personality type do you identify with? It doesn’t really matter.
Making connections is something you HAVE to do and all three types can benefit from networking using the following tips:
1. Maintain Your Expectations
You don’t have to put so much pressure on yourself to mingle with a ton of people while attending a networking event. You can make great connections just by staying for 20-30 minutes and talking to one or two people. Quality not quantity.
2. Share Personal Stories
Your story is what makes you intriguing and memorable. If you said to me, “I love your bracelet,” I could say “Oh, thank you” and leave it at that. Or I could say, “Thank you! I got it in Australia while traveling the world with a group of friends.” Then it’s “Oh really? I actually have a friend who lives there and I visited last summer! Which area did you visit?” Boom. Conversation starter.
3. Ask for an Introduction
This is good for anyone, regardless of your personality. We all know someone who knows everyone. Find that person and ask them to introduce you to the person you want to meet. It holds more value when someone of importance (or just with an already established connection) introduces you because the person you’re meeting sees you in a different light from the beginning. This is also less scary for the shy and socially awkward.
4. Ditch the Sales Pitch
Networking is all about making connections and building relationships. You don’t have to do a hard sell two minutes into the conversation. Keep it light, fun and informal. The idea is to get the convo started. People are more likely to do business with someone they enjoy being around.
5. Share Your Passion
Show your love and enthusiasm for your product or service and you’re sure to win people over. Share your inspiration for starting your company or talk about things you enjoy. These are contagious and sure to leave a lasting impression. When you can get others to share their passion it creates a memorable conversation.
Speaking of networking, let’s help each other out! That’s the whole point, right?
As always, thanks for reading!
**Bonus Tip: SMILE! It’s simple, but often overlooked. Not only will you come across as inviting to others, it’ll help put yourself at ease too. There’s nothing more attractive than a nice, big smile that can light up the room – it’s contagious. And if you’re really dreading the event? Fake it and smile anyway! Leave the negativity at the door.