Mastering the skill of Networking can be very tricky. A lot of people know about the word, but not so much about it as a skill. People have different ideas of how it works, but when it comes to actually working it, a lot of us don’t as much as we should and end up feeling like we didn’t learn or achieve much at a networking event or that we wasted time and money being in attendance. More often than not, the reason why most people do not do enough networking is because they are “Shy”. So we’ve taken the time to put together a short list of tips that could help you as a shy person get the most out of any networking event you attend.
As a shy person, the default behaviour upon arrival at a networking event is to stand or sit by yourself and wait to be approached. Some people start playing with their phones after a few minutes of being in the room and not having anyone approach them. The best thing to do in this scenario is instead of waiting on other people to approach you, start with the people around you and introduce yourself. Something as brief as a self-introduction can be a conversation starter and the ice breaker you need to navigate the room because once you start talking to one person, approaching other people becomes easy.
Not in a way that could be perceived as “forced” but in a genuine, open minded way. Wear a smile and before you know it, you’d be sending out good energy which directly attracts people to you. So be friendly because a little friendliness never hurt nobody.
Keep Conversations Short
Nobody is going to think you are being rude by having short conversations at a networking event because they’ll understand that IT IS a networking event and spending a lot of time in conversation with just one person limits your chances of meeting other incredible people in the room. So, keep it short (not abrupt) and meaningful then follow up later after the event if you’d like to take your conversation further.
Use your Business Cards Wisely
No, Business Cards are not overrated and yes, we don’t leverage such an important connection tool enough. What some of us do is shove our business cards into the hands of prospective connections with little or no conversation and keep it moving or we take our cards along solely for the raffles. This makes you easily forgettable and less likely to get a follow-up call or email. Instead, let there be an exchange of business cards only after your short conversation (as stated above). That way, your chances of re-connecting after the event is more and please ensure you follow up within 48hrs of connecting. For you, so you remember why you made the connection and also so you’re still fresh in the mind of the person(s) you connected with at the event.
If you are in a group and you see someone standing by themselves, invite them to your group. This wouldn’t only give you an extra persona to network with or a valuable contact for future purposes, this always shows goodwill.