To all of the extroverts out there, I’d just like to say that we introverts also own and run successful businesses, believe it or not. Did you know that introverts also often make the best sales people. However, it can be very difficult for introverts to meet new people and therefore to network.
It is for this reason that Net-Working-Pro can work so well for introverts and extroverts alike. Yes, even though our meetings are held online through video conferencing from the comfort of your own home or office, you still need to show your face and speak to people. That alone can be daunting to an introvert, but it still makes it easier than walking into a room of people that you don’t know from a bar of soap.
Also, because you are interacting with the same group of people every week, you get to know them. They become familiar to you and you make friends, which makes it a lot easier for an introvert to network.
But this article is not just about NWP. I want to speak to the introverts out there who need to get out and meet large groups of people to network and therefore improve their business. So let’s have a look at some pointers to encourage you and get you through it.
You’re Not The Only One
Entering a room full of people that you know you are going to have to converse with is terrifying, but you aren’t the only one, and you have to remember this.
Other people there are in exactly the same boat. They haven’t met these people before, they don’t know who they are, and they don’t know how to start a conversation, so why not step up and help them. Something introverts are very good at is helping others, especially if they can empathise with them. Be the one to start a conversation and break the ice. Help others to feel more comfortable.
Don’t Be Afraid to Make a Mistake
The first time I went to a networking meeting I thought I had to present myself as bold and confident and then I won’t lay myself open for attack. Put up all of the walls I could muster.
I very promptly kicked myself in the butt and told myself that it didn’t matter. All I had to do was be myself. If I made a mistake or looked like a fool, so be it. If someone didn’t like me, that’s their loss. Why? Because I’m an awesome person, and so are you.
I did the same thing when I had to stand up in front of about 40 people and give a brief intro to my business. If I stuttered or fumbled or forgot what to say, so what? People are more forgiving than you realise. I also very quickly learnt that just about everyone in the room felt exactly the same as I did. People who had been doing this for weeks were still shaking when they had to speak.
I then moved on to present at a seminar in an auditorium of about 100 people. And guess what, they loved my presentation. They weren’t there waiting for me to fail or to stumble, they just wanted to get more information. I wasn’t under attack, and that is what opened my eyes.
Challenge yourself, you may be surprised how much confidence it builds in you.
Create a Buddy System
Do you have a friend who also owns a business? Perfect, drag them along with you to the next meeting, seminar or conference.
If there is someone there that you know, then when you are feeling a bit overwhelmed you can fall back on them for support. When you first enter the meeting area you can stand and talk with them so you don’t look like a missing link in the corner of the room. Use each other for support and confidence.
Spotlight The Other Person
Quite often small talk is something that introverts steer away from, but it can be necessary in such a situation. If you are in a conversation with someone and you are starting to feel like you are fading and not sure what to talk about next, simply put the spotlight on the other person. Ask them questions about themselves and their business. How long have they been in business? What difficulties did they face along the way? Lots of people like to talk about themselves, so give them a platform. This will keep the conversation going and make the other person feel more important, and give them more confidence. They will love you for it.
Be Warm and Opening
When we are afraid, we tend to close off, put up the barriers and although we want to crumble in the corner in fetal position, we can’t. However, we do tend to hide away as much as we can with our arms locked tight across our chest, giving the most fierce look we can, to make ourselves look stronger. It really is just over compensation, and doesn’t make us very approachable.
Instead, just smile, put your arms by your sides (or better still, have a cup or glass of something to drink in the one hand and put the other in your pocket, in other words occupy your hands, but don’t lock yourself down). Remain open and approachable, and when someone initiates a conversation, smile and say hi. If you do stumble over your words just apologise and tell them that you are introvert and not used to networking. You will be surprised how many people will understand, and you will probably find that they will introduce you to other people. Once the ball gets rolling you will get the swing of it in no time.
Being introvert is just who you are. People get it, they don’t judge it, and I found that most people who go to referral networking meetings, especially formal groups like NWP are all introverts. It helps to gather in groups for support, so these kinds of referral networks are excellent for introverts. You get to know everyone personally and they become a tight knit and loyal group.
So, give it a try. Next time someone says “come to a networking meeting with me”, say yes, don’t even consider it, just do it. You’ll thank yourself.
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