Have you ever felt fear when thinking about attending a networking event? Have you ever attended an event only to stare at your phone and act like you were talking to someone? If you’ve answered yes to either of these questions, the following tips will help you on your journey as an intro-prenuer, an introverted entrepreneur.
Bring a friend with you to networking events. Typically when you go networking, it’s nerve-wracking because you don’t know anyone there. You go to the event and it looks like everyone knows everyone….except for you. Worst case scenario, you end up taking out your phone and pretend to be texting or calling someone. We’ve all been there; it sucks! What if you had a friend? They could always be your safe zone to fall back on. If you have a friend who is outgoing, ask him to bring people back and introduce you to each other.
Determine the objective of your networking beforehand. Are you looking to get as many business cards as possible? Are you looking to connect with people from certain industries? Get clear on your intentions beforehand. By knowing your purpose, you’re more likely to accomplish your goal.
Repeat to yourself, “They want to meet me!” Most people at these functions are there to grow their business or brand. In order for them to do so, they need to meet people like you. Yes, they want to meet you! They want to connect and chat with you. They are normal people just like you and me. In fact, they could be just as scared as you are! By breaking the ice, you could be helping them out and it’s a win-win situation.
“They want to meet me!”
Prepare for the event beforehand. I like to find out who I need to connect with. I will research and look at their LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, website, etc. I can ask them questions or talk to them based off what I learned about them. You won’t have to worry about not knowing what to say.
Practice, practice, practice. The more you attend networking functions, the easier it becomes. You start recognizing people, and they will start recognizing you. They’ll start introducing you to people they know and it becomes a lot easier. Remember, practice doesn’t make perfect, but it does make progress. Progress in the way you speak, the way you connect, the value you deliver, and even the referrals you get in return.
There you have it. Introverts can network successfully with the best of them. Remember, get out there and have fun. You’re working on a business or cause that you care about deeply. You’re out there making meaningful connections to further the cause for your vision. It becomes easier over time, and dare I say it even becomes fun. Happy networking, my dear intro-preneurs!