Having good networking skills is important if you want to make it in the business world. Networking allows you to expand your business connections and create more opportunities.
But for shy people, it can be really difficult to put yourself out there. If you’re not naturally outgoing, going to a crowded networking event is a daunting prospect. Fortunately, there are things you can do to improve your confidence and get over the nerves. Follow these 5 simple networking tips to boost your chance of success:
The best way to overcome shyness is to push yourself out of your comfort zone. The more you do this, the more confident you will become over time. For many shy people, there’s nothing more daunting than travelling on your own. When you immerse yourself in a different culture, it pushes you into unfamiliar territory. It allows you to view the world from a new perspective and experience real inner-growth.
Before your next networking event, consider taking a trip to somewhere you’ve never been before. Go out to the local restaurants and say hello to the people there. Practice your listening skills when conversing with the locals. Once you’ve travelled on your own and met all kinds of people, you’ll return home with a renewed confidence. Going to a business networking event won’t seem as scary.
Join an Online Community
If you’re still too nervous about attending a real networking event, consider joining an online community first. Find blogs or online communities that are associated with the interests you love so that you can meet other like-minded people.
There are many professional networking sites for entrepreneurs, business owners, bloggers and freelancers. These networking sites are a great way for shy people to meet other like-minded business professionals.
Once you’ve made contacts online, you could meet up in person or talk on the phone to discuss business matters. You’ll feel more comfortable talking to them if you’ve already established a relationship online.
For shy people, there’s nothing worse than small talk. The idea of conversing with strangers at a networking event can seem like a nightmare. Doing a little preparation beforehand can definitely help to ease the nerves.
Find out who is on the attendee list for the event and do your research about a few people. This will allow you to prepare conversation topics and questions ahead of time.
You’ll feel much more confident if you know what to say in the conversation. The more confident you appear, the more successful you will be at the event. Just remember to keep the questions and talking points as natural as possible.
Don’t forget to prepare and practice your elevator pitch as well. The whole point of a networking event is to get to know people, promote your business and make contacts.
You can’t expect the other person to talk the entire time. To make a good impression, you must promote your business in a self-assured manner. If you rehearse your elevator pitch ahead of time, you’ll be much more confident in your delivery.
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Reach Out to Other shy People
When you’re shy and self-conscious, being in a room of extroverts can be really overwhelming. The thing to remember is, networking events are always filled with different personality types.
Chances are, you’re not the only person at the event who feels nervous and uncomfortable. Even the people who appear confident on the outside may have their own insecurities as well. Keep this in mind when you go to the event.
If you see someone sitting alone, go sit next to them and introduce yourself. More often than not, you’ll realise that they are feeling the same way you are. If you reach out to other shy people, you’ll immediately feel less alone. You may even make a friend over this bonding experience.
Set Goals for Yourself
It can be really helpful to set goals for yourself before you attend a networking event. If you set a goal to meet a certain number of people, it will give you something specific to strive towards.
You can focus wholeheartedly on completing your goal instead of worrying about your insecurities. Just make sure that every goal you set for yourself is achievable and realistic. Don’t force yourself to meet more people than you know you’re capable of.
When you achieve your goal for the night, you’ll feel a great sense of pride and accomplishment. This will be a great confidence booster for next time. You can set bigger goals for yourself after every new milestone is reached.
Networking is always going to be a challenge for people who are shy. But you don’t have to let your shyness hold you back in your career. Remember, the more you push yourself out of your comfort zone, the more confident you’ll become. Have fun and good luck!
Author’s bio:Johanna Cider is a creative writer based in Wellington, New Zealand. She’s written articles on a wide array of topics for blogs and local business sites – spanning from finance and career to travel and lifest