Networking could be for a career, for oneself or for other reasons. Establishing a network is important because it is helpful in a lot of ways.
Today, as more and more countries are slowly re-opening, a growing number of in-person events are happening every day. Sooner or later, we need to go out there and do in-real-life networking. But what if you’re the shy type? Or an introvert who’s a bit uncomfortable with approaching strangers?
It can be a daunting task, especially if you’ve been cooped up inside your house for over a year and things have become too comfortable.
Don’t worry! Here are some tips to make in-real-life networking events easier for you, regardless of your personality type:
1. Have Achievable Goals
One of the stressful things when you think about IRL networking events is the idea of meeting and engaging with a number of people. It can be overwhelming. The trick here is to narrow it down to reduce your anxiety and stress.
So, set an achievable goal—perhaps, meeting three people at the event is enough? Having an achievable goal before you attend an event will help you feel more at ease.
2. Ready Those Icebreakers
As cliche as it sounds, you need a couple of icebreakers to start a conversation with someone at an event. These icebreakers are also a great way to reduce your anxiety. You don’t need to come up with deep and philosophical icebreakers, but don’t talk about the “nice” weather as well. Keep it casual, but relevant to the event.
3. Listen Well
As an introvert, especially if you’ve spent so much time not networking face-to-face, your conversation skills may be rusty. The good thing about networking is you don’t need to be a good conversationalist to make solid connections; all you need is to listen well.
Be present and listen to what the other person is saying. Make sure you don’t listen to respond—really actively listen to what the person is trying to say, and your response will come naturally. To make it even better, your response will likely be valuable, and the person you’re trying to build a connection with will appreciate the fact that you’re truly listening to what he’s saying.
4. Don’t Forget to Smile
Smiling makes you more approachable and warm. It’s positive body language that will also make you feel good about yourself. In fact, it’s a great way to boost your confidence.
It’s essential you make yourself approachable at networking events. Therefore, a little smile will go a long way.
5. Have Someone With You
If the event allows you to bring a plus one, then go ahead and do it. Doing so will make networking less intimidating. When you’re with someone you’re comfortable with, you’ll find it easier to loosen up.
Furthermore, a friend can even be the one to introduce you to someone whom you think is a valuable connection.
Break Out of Your Shell
Networking events are often unavoidable, regardless of the industry you’re in. Being an introvert doesn’t have to be a problem with this. Use these tips to help you build solid connections in IRL networking events.
Here at NRG Networking, we host monthly meetings, expos and fun events to bring together business owners. We provide support to make you feel welcomed and comfortable. Join us today!