Business Networking - Extroverted Web Weaving for the Introvert
If you have been in business for any amount of time, you go to networking events. Did your body just seize up? Was there a swelling of nervousness in your gut? Are you about ready to stop reading? I encourage you to stay with me about networking. Let me ask: what's the difference between someone who asks you at a picnic or at church, "Who do you know who ??" versus the reality that this is the same question being asked by everyone at a formal networking event? The difference is likely that phrase "networking event!"
Estimates are that we each know about 200 to 250 people. In this group of people, this sphere or circle of influence, business happens informally and formally, passively and actively and with success and without. Since I am an introvert, my take on networking comes from a want to make the most of the event in the shortest amount of time. My energy drains too fast in too much of a great event! Here are a few pointers to put extroverted behaviors for the most introverted of us with high success.
1. Go to a networking event with an intention.
What usually works is to set an intention to meet just three new people. Or, an intention to get business cards from three new people. Something immediate and small is usually doable for any of us.
2. Carry business cards everywhere
My business cards are with me everywhere. I always have one box of business cards in my car, a few business cards in a jacket pocket and always in my business portfolio. In the rare situation that I might not have one, then I ask the person I meet for theirs. No one has ever refused to give me his or her card because I did not have mine.
3. Communicate eyeball to eyeball.
As I wrote that I wondered, "Who sustains eye contact better, introverts or extroverts? Maybe there is research on that. For me, eye contact is easy. I feel better when I focus on the person I am talking with and not seeing all the hustle around us. For a fact, we know that in general, most people have more positive feelings from eye contact than lack of it.
4. Use people's name: you'll both be uplifted.
Doesn't it make you feel important when someone remembers your name? You don't need a memory course to do this better. The easier you make it the better, particularly for an introvert. One, two, three: One, use a person's name immediately when you meet them: "It's great to meet you Cindy Tracy. Two, then use their name in your conversation when you ask a question: "How long have you been coming to these events Cindy?" And, easy three, if someone else approaches the group you're in, introduce the person you just met by their name.
5. Stand out from the crowd with follow-up.
6. Propel yourself forward with giving. Let's just say that everyone at this event is seeking a recommendation for something. Your best bet is to discover what they are seeking. It could be anything - a good movie to watch, a restaurant recommendation, where they can get a previously released music cd - anything for any aspect of life. When you follow-up, ask about what they thought about your recommendation. With your focus on how to help someone fill the smallest need first, you're still moving forward in your networking.
Whether you are an introvert or an extrovert, networking can be more comfortable and confident when you come from the place of knowing that everyone is seeking a recommendation at some time. The "networking event" just puts formal dress on web weaving - connecting people with whoever or where ever will get them what they want.
Pat Weber is a coach, certified telelcass leader, and corporate trainer. In her business coaching, she works with small business owners, independent professionals and salespeople to help them get more of what they want sooner than later.