Networking is a fancy word that can sound intimidating if you’re more of an introvert like me. Don’t get me wrong – I’m learning to be more outgoing and I do love meeting new people, but I generally also enjoy time to myself and understanding myself. But networking is something that can be second nature to you regardless of whether you’re an introvert or extrovert.
From a personal standpoint, I always thought networking was about going to these events where everyone has their life together and is successful and share all of their success secrets or something. But it’s not!
Networking happens all around you, at any time of the day. Entrepreneur Tai Lopez, says your network circle should consist of 33% individuals above your level, 33% at your level, and 33% below your level. Whether you’re at school, work, or other events you should connect with the people you meet and build your circle. Be yourself and be confident. Once you begin connecting with people, “networking” becomes second nature. So if you were to go to particular networking events you wouldn’t feel out-of-place.
I recently had gone to a networking event in which I knew several people there and at some point I was kind of just standing in the middle of the room not speaking to anyone. I just stood scanning the room and after a few minutes this group of individuals that I didn’t know just opened up to getting to know me and vice versa. It happens to everyone, we all feel awkward at some point. So what? It’s not the end of the world. The networking event was one of the most fun and enriching events I had been to. Point being, when you leave from there, you shouldn’t leave dwelling on those two minutes you didn’t speak to someone. But rather dwelling on everything else you got out of the event.
Maricella Avila (Director of Global Membership at Ellevate) wrote an article in which she offered some tips on networking for introverts. But I think it can be helpful to anyone out there, especially beginners. They are:
- Scan the room to find another friendly face to start a conversation with
- Be yourself! You might have something really interesting to offer to the conversation, SO relax and don’t worry about behaving a certain way.
- Follow-up with the person – don’t send your resume or ask about getting a job offer. Establish a genuine connection – reference a new article, book, event, etc. that you think the person would find interesting.
Don’t feel like you always need to have a pitch prepared to grab someone’s attention. Be you, you will have your own style of connecting with others. Networking is a chance to learn from others and connect with them. Test these out. Take Care!
All photos are courtesy of Pexels