Networking for Introverts
Though it may be tough and unnatural for you to dive into a networking event with confidence, it is an important skill to cultivate in a business setting.
Your personality shouldn't affect the amount of attention and collaboration you get from peers, mentors and influencers in your field, after all, you didn’t choose to be an introvert. But alas, being an introverted person effects your ability to easily reach out and connect with new people, and can even cause anxiety and physical signs of distress.
However, you are not alone in your struggle. More than one-third of individuals admit to preferring small, intimate gatherings as opposed to larger, more crowded environments. Yet some of these introverted people are the most successful entrepreneurs and business owners in the world. They only got to where they are today through hard work and by surrounding themselves with a team of people to support them and their innovative ideas.
Start growing your networking skills by following a few tips to change your approach and attitude.
Start by considering why you feel so uncomfortable at networking events. Is it because you don’t feel genuine and authentic in your interactions? Do you feel selfish in your approach? Instead of thinking of networking as a time to better yourself and your business, think of how you can help others grow. What are your assets, such as knowledge and social connections? How can you share those assets with your network? People will remember you because of your generosity and interest in their needs.
Social media has made life so easy when it comes to networking. You needn't even leave the house to “attend” a networking event. Now-a-days, just about everyone is on Twitter and LinkedIn. This is the perfect place to strike up a virtual conversation. If you find that someone is engaging and the relationship could be mutually valuable, take the next step to meet them in person.
You don’t have to go to a typical networking event to grow your network. Following the previous step makes it simple to set up a casual meeting. If you are planning to attend a networking conference, it can be helpful to make a connection with an individual beforehand.
Create Your Own Networking Events
Again, you do not have to go to a conference or business workshop event to network. Create your own event. It could be as simple as hosting a dinner with a few people you have made virtual connections with on social media. It is always better to make formal connections in person to solidify a business relationship. Take small steps and push yourself out of your comfort zone little by little.
Talk Less, Listen More
This is probably the easiest and most important attitude you can have towards networking. Be intentional about listening to others and what they have to share. Take interest in people and what they do. Though you may not make an immediate impression, a simple “thank you” and a listening ear can go a long way.
There is so much to learn from other entrepreneurs and business owners. You have so much to offer as well. Even if you don’t feel confident to contribute yet, take steps towards improving your networking skills.
Ultimately, if you believe in your business and its mission, others will too. Your ideas and input are valuable, and ideas and input from others is valuable too. Collaboration, encouragement and support from networking relationships can make a huge difference in your success.
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