Networking is powerful.When you're in the right place at the right time surrounded by the right people, fantastic things can happen. We often consider networking to be something reserved for extroverts simply because extroverts socialize well with people. Their energy is fueled when they are surrounded by people. Contrastingly, the introvert is more withdrawn and loses energy when surrounded by people for too long. Using our personalities as excuses is one of the reasons for opportunities passing us by. Networking isn't exclusively for the extroverted. It's a valuable tool for all types of personalities. These five strategies will help you tap into the power of networking regardless of your personality.
Strategy 1: Sign Up for Conferences/Workshops
There is always some type of conference or workshop being hosted in your country or region. Some are free, others aren't. Do a simple Google or Facebook search for conferences or workshops in your area that intrigue you. Incorporate the conference's fee in your budget. It may seem like a lot of money to spend just to attend an event. However, if you play your cards right you may be able to earn twice as much if you network with the right people.
Strategy 2: Initiate Conversations
It is pointless to spend money to attend a conference only to sit down and soak in what is being said. Tap into your hidden assertiveness. Take some time to scope out the type of people who are in the room. When an opportunity comes to mingle, make a move to initiate a conversation. Talking about some of the key takeaways you gained from a speaker's presentation is a good way to initiate a conversation. Focus on having a conversation of substance that will make you memorable in that person’s mind.
Strategy 3: Always Have a Business Card
Let’s say that your conversation goes well and you feel as though the person would be interested in contacting you. Some people may ask you to put your number in their phone. However, a business card has greater impact. When you hand someone a business card you are showing them how serious you are about your brand. You are showing that you know what you’re doing and can offer something of value. Invest in business cards. They’ll pay off in the long run.
Strategy 4: Be Confident
It's easy for nerves to get the better of you. Be aware of your telltale signs of nervousness. When you realize what's happening, take a deep breath and shake it off. Focus on being pleasant and memorable. Believe in yourself and allow positive thoughts to channel you in the right direction.
Strategy 5: Follow Up
Some people will give you their numbers or email addresses. Strategically determine how you're going to follow-up with them. You don't want to seem pushy or annoying. Instead, you want these people to see the value you add and be intrigued to either get to know you more or do business with you. Follow up with a call or an email maybe 2 days to a week later and see what happens.
Don't underestimate your ability to network. The more you network is the more likely opportunities will present themselves to you. Follow these strategies and you will be surprised by how much your life can change.