Networking is hard, if not brutally painful, for a wallflower. But if you want to get new clients you have to network—there’s no way around it. This doesn’t mean you have to be the life of the party, you just have to be interactive.
Suppose you decide that joining a particular group would be perfect for your business. They do the same types of things you do, they believe the same things you believe, they complement your business in many ways. You see that they’re having an event and decide to go. But once you get there, you see people mingling, conversing, and laughing, and everyone seems to know each another. You freeze, then turn around, and head out the door for home.
There’s no reason to let a great opportunity pass you by. Instead, try these 5 tips:
- Arrive early. If you get to the event early and are one of the first attendees, you won’t feel so intimidated. Gone is the room full of people who are engaged in conversations with others, seemingly blocking you out. When you are one of the first people there, you can strike up a conversation with one of the other early birds. Tell them that you’re new, and they may be inclined to introduce you to others so you won’t have to break the ice.
- Help out the organizer. Find out who is in charge beforehand, then seek him or her out and introduce yourself. Ask if there is anything you can do to help, but don’t be surprised if they put you to work. Volunteers are often needed yet few in number. You’ll meet other people who are volunteering, and they’ll remember you for offering to help. Again, you can tell the host or hostess and volunteers that you’re new, and they’ll embrace you for being willing to help and introduce you around.
- Look for other wallflowers. There is absolutely no way that you’re the only introvert in the room. Find other people who are standing alone or who look uncomfortable. Introduce yourself and ask if they’re new to the group as well. They may be waiting for someone else, but you can chat to help pass time, and when his or her friends arrive, you’ll get an introduction. If the person is a newbie just like you, that’s a commonality and it gives you someone to hang out with.
- Be curious. One way to be part of a conversation without having to say much is to ask people about themselves. When you ask questions and are genuinely interested in what the other person has to say, you will be remembered as a good listener. As time passes, you’ll become more comfortable so if you are asked a question in return, you shouldn’t be so nervous when answering.
- Take a friend. You don’t have to go to the event alone if you can talk someone into going with you. This is especially helpful if your friend isn’t shy and is willing to meet people and introduce you. Just make sure that you don’t spend the whole evening talking to your friend as this defeats the purpose of networking.
Even if you are brave and introduce yourself to someone, you may get the brush off. There is nothing worse than being rejected, but don’t be apologetic about it. Maybe that person is having an off day, doesn’t feel like talking, or is the type of person you wouldn’t want to know anyway. It doesn’t matter why he or she was rude; what matters is how you react. All you have to do is walk away and find someone else to approach. Remind yourself why you’re there, and if you find more people like this, you’ll know this isn’t the group for you.
Some of the best networkers are introverts, and you’d be surprised how many people don’t have a natural ability to engage with people they’ve never met before. They understand that networking is necessary, and even connecting with just one person, if he or she is the right person, can do wonders for the business.
NB: we didn’t write this article ourselves. We purchased it on GhostBloggers.net. Another way to put it is that we bought some very good and exclusive content to publish it where it is relevant. And GhostBloggers is an awesome platform for that.