The Awkward Guide To Networking For The Uncomfortably Aloof
You’re not the quickest of mind when it comes to speaking, especially conversing with others, you’re a little timid, become uncomfortable once a crowd gathers. Yet, for the sake of your business, as it expands and retracts based on your networking prowess, it’s something you need to do.
What you find is that it’s your duty to attend all the various networking functions, after function, and they’re close to being just as painful as tooth extraction sans novacane. It becomes a cold and panic stricken situation.
How would you even begin a conversation with someone who’s a complete stranger. What happens if everyone just ignores you. So by the time that any of these networking events arrive, you’re a total wreck, a bundle of nervous energy.
If you’re uncomfortable under these situations, that you consider yourself a bit eccentric, a tad introverted, there are a set of procedures for survival, this based on viewing things differently.
What’s not needed is for everyone to be an absolute outgoing extrovert bordering on narcissism, this when it comes to becoming an efficient networker. What you need is to react clinically with a bit of contrast.
Thinking Beyond The Meet And Greet
At its core foundation, what successful networking is designed to result in is developing new long term relationships. These initial meetings are the opening, the first step in what could become a long term thoughtful engagement.
You meet new people, exchange business cards, learn and store their names, become familiar with their nuances, you make an initial connection. But what doesn’t happen at these usually stuffy events is creating deep rooted relationships.
You’ve got to go beyond the initial meet and greet if you’re wanting to make a connection, to network successfully. In fact, what these events actually induces is awkward debilitating paroxysms of anxiety for everyone.
This the reason why some will just avoid them altogether, but instead they’ll attend venues which have worked out for them in the past, this for building a more solid networking foundation.
There are some who’ll thrive at the local Toastmasters meeting as everyone’s in the same boat, or volunteer at the local committees which gathers excellent leads for their business.
The venue itself doesn’t really matter, but building new relationship where you’re comfortable does. So go find the places where you’ll feel the most welcome, and then mingle.
If you consider yourself extremely introverted, a wallflower, then try taking a leadership role online, on a social networking site for instance. Or you can become an influential blogger who provides relevant industry information.
Just make sure that your specialty becomes known, make sure that the venue is popular and it gets targeted visitors. This means new business associates and clients, and not your friends.
Focusing On Quality And Not Quantity
There’s this one individual who’s extremely proud that he has more than 25,000 LinkedIn contacts. That’s great, congratulations, but what’s his expectations. If his contacts are completely unrelated to what he does, or he does nothing with them, then that’s not effective networking.
What social scientific research shows is that the average individual has around 180 genuine social contacts. These are people that they know and trust, believe in their integrity, expertise, and dependability.
What you need to know is that you yourself can always depend on your immediate network, and that these individuals can always depend on you, it can be that simple.
So instead of wasting your energy gathering as many friends as you can on Facebook, alter your thinking process. Focus on being more trustworthy instead, this by always keeping your word while fulfilling your commitments.
Always be reliable, give genuine accurate information, and, if you’re not able to, then say so. Don’t fake it, never try to be someone you’re not. Once you get to know people, always give them value. What doing so does is it improves the quality of your immediate network.
Stepping Out Of Your Comfort Zone
Know what your comfort zone is, and at times, try stepping out of it. Step out of your sanity zone, your daily routine and put your dancing shoes on. Go to some event which leaves you a nervous gibbering mess.
When you’re out there networking, it becomes important to get a bit uneasy at times when you occasionally decide to leave the “zone.” Attempt to do things every once in a while that scares you, gets your heart beating.
Are you accustomed to just meeting with people who are similar to how you think, have the same mindset and mannerisms. “Familiar” networking is what most feel comfortable at, but you learn nothing.
Networking With Others
Network with others who are abstractly different that can teach you something new. This could help you to stay relevant by you remaining at the top of the latest trends in your industry, learning and hearing about new opportunities, creating new possibilities.
If you own a business, what you’re usually required to do is network with others who are not in your industry. So try starting an advisory board with people where different backgrounds meet, others who you value their expertise and integrity.
It’s important that you respect and admire them, but don’t necessarily need to be personally acquainted with. Then over time, they’ll open new doors for you, connect you to different resources. Eventually, they’ll become allies and you’ll become grateful of them.
So those who feel a tad uncomfortable among others networking, it’s okay to remain introverted. Never force yourself to become someone you’re not. What you need to do however is push yourself out of your immediate comfort zone. What works is focusing on quality over quantity when networking effectively.