Networking: You Don’t Have to Be the Center of Attention to be Effective
If you’re like most companies, you’d probably like more revenue. More money may come in the form of more customers. More customers may come through more networking. More networking may make you want to run to the nearest wall and take the form of a flower. Don’t run! Take a deep breath. Introverts can master the art of networking with a little help from these tips.
Host an event. Seems like we’re throwing you into the fire? In a way, it is. But think about the duties of a host. You need to make sure everyone is taken care of and feels comfortable. This gives you a natural topic to discuss. “Can I get you anything?” is so much easier than trying to come up of another opener.
Get in their Facebook. Face-to-face is the best way to truly build relationships, but technology has allowed for people to network without even leaving their desks. Establish some acquaintances in person then work to build that relationship through Facebook, LinkedIn or other social media websites.
Advice breaks the ice. Offer up advice on subjects you know well. Watch that you don’t overstep your bounds and offer unsolicited advice. But if you can provide them with some information that they find useful and will establish you as an expert in your field then you’ve achieved your goal. If they are looking to do business with a company like yours, hopefully you’ll be the first to come to mind.
As the good saying goes, “practice makes perfect.” The more you work on networking skills the easier it will become. Just because networking may not come natural to you doesn’t mean you will be less effective than that gregarious person holding court in the center of the room.