OK, I know you’re quiet. Or maybe you’re shy or basically “not a “people person.”
I get it, I really do but being quiet or shy doesn’t necessarily mean that business networking can’t play a role in your business development bag of tricks.
Here’s how and please understand you will probably need to consider these few “adjustments” to your behavior:
Get to the meeting or event early. I know it’s counter intuitive to what you really want to do which is to go late (or not go at all) but the best thing to do is be one of the first people in the room. By doing that you avoid the insecurity that comes from walking into a room in which everyone is already deep in conversation and the networking is in full swing.
Do your homework. Investigate the networking group or event and learn as much as possible about the makeup and purpose of the organization. The more that you know the more comfortable you will be.
Attend with a friend. Attend with a friend but that doesn’t mean that you should spend time with them once you arrive at the event. Walk in together, survey the room and then separate and start to make your own networking contacts. It’s always reassuring to know that you have a friend in the room.
Don’t be concerned with food. It’s incredibly awkward to hold a small plate of canapes and still try to shake hands and make connections. Skip the food and eat later. Or eat before you attend. In any case, ditch the food.
Go light on the booze. This is not the place to drink more than your limit even if you feel that it helps you to loosen up. Stick to one drink that you sip slowly and you’ll be okay.
Prepare and practice. Know what you want to say when you introduce yourself and practice saying the words in a pleasant, professional and engaging manner. While you are at it be safe and also practice the words you wish to use when you have to disengage from a networking conversation that has gone on for too long or is seemingly going nowhere.
Have fun. This is possibly the most important thing of all. Just have fun. Remember that everyone is there for the same reason as you are – they want to meet new people. No matter if someone seems aloof and unfriendly; move on and connect with someone else that will probably be more amiable.
Any questions? Need more advice? Give me a call – 516-445-1135