Networking 101 – Some More Networking Tips for Introverts
When I first started Networking for my Business, I was like a kid with a new toy. If there was a Networking event, I was at it. I could not get enough! Not only would I be at every single networking event, but I would also scurry around frenetically trying to touch base with every single person at the event. I wanted every single person’s card or contact details because each person, each card, each contact detail was an opportunity. It was madness personified!
Many of the individuals were not really interested in meeting with me but felt obliged to give me their business cards or contact details. When I contacted them to set up a meeting, they hummed and ha-ed and finally agreed to a meeting and then on d-day, despite me having confirmed the meeting, they just did not pitch! It wasted time for both of us and a somewhat disillusioned me!
You see, the bottom line is that not everyone “gets” the whole networking concept and as the old saying goes, you can lead a horse to the water, but you cannot force it to drink. In my enthusiasm, I had automatically assumed that everyone would be as excited about networking as I was. Well, they aren’t – so deal with it, get over it and move on!
Nowadays, I am a lot more sedate about networking. Don’t get me wrong, I am still as passionate about it as I ever was – I just look at it and deal with it a whole lot differently.
I no longer feel the need to attend every networking meeting on the planet – two or three a month are more than enough.
I no longer feel the need to obtain every single participating person’s business card or contact details. Now I “cherry-pick” a few individuals who I think I may either have synergy with or who I feel “drawn” to meet (yes I go with my gut feel!) and I touch base with those who seek me out.
I no longer get stressed out if people don’t pitch for a meeting, now I take work along with me and get on with it, recognising the fact that everyone is not automatically on the same page as I am.
My diary is still full with meetings sometimes booked as far as two or even three months in advance, but I no longer have this intense need to make a difference in someone’s life.
You see, building relationships takes time and commitment, and although networking gives you a foot in the door, the relationship still needs to be built and that is not something that should be rushed, and quite frankly running around frenetically is not only exhausting, but it is also very time-consuming.
So take your time, accept your limitations and the limitations of others. Go to fewer events but make them quality events. Meet with fewer people, but make sure they are people who value who you are and what you do and make those meetings count and finally, be gentle with yourself, don’t push yourself too hard and too fast.
Oh . . . . . and remember to have fun!