On Monday, we covered 5 networking tips for introverts. Now that you’ve had a chance to internally process that information (and maybe even practice it!), here are 5 more tips:
Reframe networking. Think less about making business contacts and more about connecting with the people you encounter every day. Everyone is a resource, and I mean everyone. I once mentioned to my dental receptionist that I was looking for a new job. We’d only had a few previous friendly encounters, but a month later, she remembered our conversation and called me with a lead.
Offer something first. One of the simplest ways to get others to open up, warm up to you, or just plain notice you is to offer a token. Skip the business card—everyone’s doing it. Compliments, beauty, sports, or professional tips are all great tokens. Now that you have their attention, go ahead and slip them your card.
Set small goals. Whether it’s meeting 3 new people, having a 2 drink maximum, or making 1 great connection, setting small goals eliminates feeling overwhelmed by the woulds, shoulds, and coulds. Once you reach your quota, you can plan your exit!
Give yourself permission to escape. We all have our limits and there’s no rule saying you have to close down the networking event. It’s OK to leave early. However, if you’re hosting an event and can’t get away, give yourself permission to take a breather on the balcony, in a bathroom stall, or in your car. Come back when you’re recharged.
Stay sane, not safe. You’re not going to like this one, but a key to successful networking is to get out of your comfort zone. Just make sure you stay within your sanity zone—scared, but not paralyzed is the sweet spot. (Small goals, remember?) Maybe just showing up is all you can handle, but as you push your limits, your boundaries will expand. I like this advice from Matt Damon’s character in We Bought a Zoo, “Sometimes all you need is 20 seconds of insane courage. Just literally 20 seconds of embarrassing bravery. And I promise you, something great will come of it.”
Is there something your want me to write about? Let me know in the comments!