Do you go to networking events? And are you an introvert? If you are, you’re probably feeling overwhelmed. How will you manage in a large, crowded space?
Good news! It doesn’t have to be scary or impossible to navigate.
To those who say otherwise, I say “B.S.!” No, not that B.S.
Here are my four “B.S.” networking strategies for #introverts.
Number one, be still. Being still refers to the ability to center, meditate or whatever you need before you walk in to feel comfortable internally. Don’t just walk in and get overwhelmed. Try to be fully comfortable with yourself, who you are and what you bring to the table, and then enter the space in which you are engaging.
Number two, be strategic. You can’t be everywhere. This is good advice, I think, for everybody, but really for introverts. If you know people who will be there, reach out to them in advance. Make a connection: “I’d like to see you there.” “What’s your number?” “Where can I find you?” “Let’s find a quiet place to talk.”
And, of course, do think about where you can find a little nook somewhere where you can be away from the noise and away from all the activity, or where you can have useful, purposeful and meaningful conversation.
Whatever it is, be strategic in where you want to be and the kind of people that you specifically want to meet who will add value, you to them and them to you.
Number three, be seen. So even though you want to be off to the side because that’s your introverted style, people should still see you be present in the room at different times. Definitely be somebody who people can at least make a connection to and say, “Yeah, I saw him or her. They were there. Let’s follow up afterwards.”
Which is really where all the magic happens anyway. But it’s hard to do that if you say you were there, but I didn’t see you. People are going to view it differently from if they actually saw you there and feel connected to you because you were visible.
And finally, be sticky. Of course I don’t mean that in the hygienic sense of the term. We want to be fresh. We want to really look good and feel good when we walk in.
Sticky means to be memorable.
We want to be somebody who people will look at it and say, “Oh yeah, he was there, she was there,” but not only were they there, they made an impression. It could be something you wear. It could be something you say. Maybe you have a special handshake. A special way of speaking.
Try to create some stickiness so that when you choose to follow up, assuming that you do, you have something people can really connect to, and you are somebody whom they feel good about connecting with, who added value and they had a nice time with. So introvert or extrovert, remember these strategies. I encourage you to get out there, do your magic. It doesn’t matter where you do it or how you do it so long as it serves you and you make the most out of what promises to be a very powerful, engaging and connecting event.
Naphtali Hoff, PsyD, is an executive coach and president of Impactful Coaching & Consulting. He helps busy leaders delegate more effectively so they can clear their desks, empower their people, reduce stress and get home at a decent hour. For a free, no-obligation consultation please call 212-470-6139 or email [email protected] Check out his leadership book, “Becoming the New Boss,” on Amazon.