Does the idea of getting on a group Zoom video call or entering a room of strangers at a networking luncheon make you feel anxious?
Do you see yourself as more of a one-on-one discussion person? Feel more comfortable connecting from your desk seat and by typing at your keyboard? If you answered, “yes,” you might need to shift your perspective a bit to allow networking to give you a confidence boost.
Introverts vs. Extroverts
Your initial feelings about networking with a group are likely linked to your personality and whether you identify as an introvert or extrovert. Introverts are often drained by excessive interaction and activity, while extroverts are energized by it. Introverts prefer quieter, low-key environments.
Controlling your Experience
If you’re an introvert, the good news is, all it takes to change your experience is you. Start by working to shift your perspective and approach to networking. Sure, you may be attending a luncheon with 30 people tomorrow afternoon, but that doesn’t mean you have to stand in front of the room and address them all at once. Work to make the one-on-one connections you’re more comfortable forming. Aim to talk to one person before lunch begins, see if you can sit with him or her, and then ask them to introduce you to one more friend before you wrap up and head back to work or home. The next time you attend, do the same with a new person. Break things into manageable, bite-sized pieces, per se.
Another way to head more confidently into a networking function may be to do some homework by thinking of questions you might ask or topics you might broach with a new connection. What would you like someone else to ask you about? What would make for a great ice breaker? Consider discussing topics and things people enjoy, like pets, children, vacations, music, TV shows, and more. Make it a personal and fun experience for both you, and your new connection. Then you can delve more deeply into professional topics, talk business, and more. Also, remember that much of networking is listening. You don’t have to talk the whole time. A thoughtful conversation is a two-way street after all.
With some forethought and by breaking networking down into small, but meaningful, tasks, you’re more likely to have a rewarding, and confidence-boosting experience each and every time.
Come network with us! Learn more about Pagoda Business Network online at pagodabusinessassociation.com. We hope to see everyone in person, soon!
Nikki Murry is editor of Berks County Living magazine and a freelance writer, editor, proofreader and blogger. In her free time she is an active dog rescue volunteer and enjoys spending time with her 16-year-old son, Riley, and her three dogs: Figgy and Shelly, French Bulldogs, and Bruno, a Boston Terrier.