So you’re at a networking event.
There’s fifty or so people in a room, each milling around and smoozing with one another. All except for you. What’s wrong? Why are you sitting in the corner with a beer warming in your hand while others are trotting about saying this, talking that, laughing and building relationships?
The reason: you are shy!
Shy people have a really difficult time with networking.
But, shyness no longer has to hold you back from building new friendships, contacts, and potential work relationships. Why? Because you can practice these 5 tips to help you network despite that opportunity suppressing shyness that haunts you at every turn.
First, try refocusing your concept of the situation. Most people view networking as a chance to swindle someone into getting what they want. If you think job fair, you can imagine many people standing around trying to butter up people to give them a job. Or, if you think a party among the famous, you can imagine people of less fame trying to win the favour of some big name, that the big name will spread the news of the lesser.
Instead of this slant, try thinking of yourself as a gift giver. Be a service person. Think in terms of resource. What is it you can give to people at the event? Think of yourself as a Twitter Tweet. The beauty of Twitter is information sharing. You’ve got information that can help solve others problems. Learn to give. Doing such gets you out of you. Getting out of you takes your mental focus off of you and onto others. Such action can cure most of the shyness that wreaks havoc on millions. Focus on others!
Second, remember to go at it in tiny steps. There’s no reason to be a super networker right away. Make small goals. Perhaps your goal can be to meet one new person. Or, to have one friend at the even introduce you to one person. From that, you have to ask a few interesting “open ended, meaningful” questions of the person before leaving the event. …but don’t forget to listen.
Listening well is a KEY to successful networking.
Once you ask those questions, reward yourself somehow. Yes, four shots of tequila may be the wrong way to reward yourself.
Third, never say “sorry”. Stop excusing yourself for being one way or another in anyone’s presence. Doing such sends really negative messages. Just be. There is nothing wrong with you. That feeling that you’re imposing on others is just an illusion. Some people believe networking is a burden to those they talk with. Some feel that they have no right to ask for help, or offer help. But, the truth is….you do!
So stop saying “sorry” in whatever way you happen to say it.
Fourth, Smile. This one is a Dale Carnegie special! …and it’s just good common sense. Grumpy faces keep everyone away. …except maybe mosquitos.
Fifth, work at being yourself. This is related to tip three. Again, you are alright. There’s nothing wrong with you.
Most people think that you have to be super cool to be good at networking. The truth is, however, that you simply need to be yourself. Some people will like you just as you are.
And, when you are yourself, you can ask direct questions, ask directly for help, and basically be honest. You’ll find that direct asking and forthright communication will generally always get you more than you need.
Before reading these, you were probably expecting a magic pill that would take away your shyness. Maybe now you're upset that you already knew this advice.
Well, unfortunately, no pill exists. The only way out of shyness is through it. You must learn to endure and act through, to do despite the pain. These tips will help you on your way.