Following on from last week’s offerings on Networking for Introverts, here are some more tips for other Introverts.
When I first started looking for business at networking events, I felt that I had to get myself to every networking function that was available. Please believe me when I tell you that I spent many a very uncomfortable hour standing around trying to force myself to smile and introduce myself to total strangers, because I wanted their business desperately, whilst trying to look casual, professional and anything but desperate. Going to every meeting that was taking place was a really good thing though because, no matter how difficult it was at the time that is how I learned, what kind of meeting best suited me. For me (and I suspect that this would work for most of the other introverts out there) a semi-facilitated, loosely structured type of environment works best. At least I am sort of introduced to people, (not necessarily one at a time or even one on one) and they recognise me (and I them) and we can strike up a conversation and get talking. Going to networking functions where you don’t know anyone and nobody knows you and you have to go up to strangers and introduce yourself is like going “cold calling”! That as far as I am concerned is for the birds and I am not a vulture!
So now, when a new meeting (with a bunch of people that I have not come across yet) is marketed or I am invited to attend something new, I always go to check it out, but that does not necessarily mean that I will automatically join up. There are different types of networking meetings and I function better at these when I feel comfortable in my surroundings. This also does not mean that I am restricted to one group – quite the contrary – I belong to several different groups, each one slightly different from the other, but all semi-facilitated, loosely structured and made up of individuals who are serious about doing business!
Find the type of meeting that fits with you as an individual. Make sure that you feel comfortable, meet the individuals and grab all of the opportunities that come your way.