Shy people or those who consider themselves introverts often see networking as a challenge. But is it that difficult to mingle with new faces? Well, with time, you will realize that it is not that hard at all. Whether you call yourself shy, introvert, or quiet, you can still master the art of networking. One important thing to know about networking is that it’s not all about the ability to mingle; it’s more about building relationships based on sincerity, trust, and understanding.
Here are a few tips to help you get better at networking:
Learn to Take It Easy With the Meet and Greet
The simple meet-and-greet process at networking events is the basis for establishing conversations with strangers and building relationships. If you are shy about meeting someone for the first time, try finding a common connection between you and them and request an introduction. An organizer or host can help you with this. You can also tag a buddy along to help you be more at ease. Getting introduced can help remove your anxiety about meeting someone just out of the blue. But if you can’t find someone for the introduction, take a deep breath and try it. After all, it’s better to try than miss a chance, right?
Remember That No One is Thinking About You and Your Shyness
Most shy people at networking events often fear that everyone is looking at them or is concerned about their shyness. The truth is, no one is. Everyone is always thinking about themselves and how to make that first impression. There are also individuals like you in the same event who consider themselves shy and introvert, so basically, you are in the same shoes. Knowing this fact can be the most liberating thing in your networking life.
Practice, Practice, Practice
Practice makes things easier. Try attending a networking event at least once every month or two to gain more courage and learn how to interact with strangers smoothly. You can also attend a networking group that does speed networking to help you practice and get comfortable talking to people you don’t know. With time, you will find approaching and starting conversations with strangers at networking events easier.
Write Down Some Questions
Conversations are a two-way street, so you can’t let the other person carry the whole conversation. If your fear of socializing at networking events is not participating in conversations spontaneously, write down a few questions to guide you through. Questions such as “What got you into this career path,” “What are your future career plans,” What are your hobbies” and more of such could help enable you to contribute to the conversation.
The Bottom Line
These are some of the few things you can use to help you start and run with that all-important conversation at a networking event. Try them gradually, and in no time, you will find yourself getting out of your introvert zone and enjoying all the opportunities networking offers.
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