Networking For Introverts: 4 Ways to Connect with Confidence
You should network, they said. It will be easy, they said. Have you ever walked into a networking event and didn’t see a single familiar face? For a seasoned networker, attending a networking event for the first time may be a sea of opportunity and interesting conversation. But for beginner networkers or introverts, it can be intimidating or overwhelming.
Thankfully, it doesn’t have to be, says Jen Jones, founder of Connect & Elevate, a group and program focused on supporting women entrepreneurs that identify as introverts develop extensive networks of business relationships and their tribes of raving fans. As an ambivert/introvert herself in the very extroverted field of real estate, Jen had to quickly develop her internal toolkit to navigate the networking world.
Since then, Jen has made it her mission to help her fellow ambiverts and introverts build a meaningful network on their own terms. Now she shares her process of mindset, tools, and skills with other introvert women entrepreneurs
Find Online Events on the Smaller Side
Walking into a networking group with 20-50 people can be overwhelming to navigate and difficult to initiate more in-depth conversations with new connections. Smaller groups tend to foster longer and richer conversations.
Start by tapping into your existing friendships with fellow business owners and networkers for referrals and to find out what groups and events they attend. Jen recommends searching platforms like Facebook and Eventbrite, and do a quick evaluation of the size and agenda to see which ones will be a good fit.
Find Forums Where You Can Offer Value
Whether it’s Facebook, LinkedIn, or other forums, find a place where you can network and be a resource for other members. Find out where your ideal clients are communicating online, and participate in the conversation. It’s an opportunity to add value and drive referrals to others.
Focus on developing those relationships instead of driving traffic to your sales page, says Jen. By connecting in a meaningful way, you will ultimately attract your ideal clients naturally.
Reconnect With Your Existing Network
We’ve all been hunkered down for the past few months, with social distancing and the upheaval of daily life. Take a moment and create a list of your friends and business acquaintances that you haven’t talked to in a while.
As we begin our return to “normal” life, Jen suggests reaching out to 5 people on that list, offering to connect with them over coffee or on a Zoom. It’s an opportunity to find out how they’ve been doing, and discover how you can be of service to them.
Take Advantage of Virtual Networking
There is a silver lining in this year’s social distancing requirements. Virtual networking events held online (through services like Zoom) give you an opportunity to plan out your speaking points and even post a “cheat sheet” of key topics near your camera. With the structured event agenda, you’ll have plenty of time to collect your thoughts.
In-person networking events typically provide “open networking time,” which can sometimes feel overwhelming, awkward, or draining for an introvert or a new networker. Thankfully, online networking events are a perfect introduction to connecting with new people because the conversation is usually fairly focused during the event. During the event, you can write down the names of the other participants that you wish to follow up with for a one-to-one connection at a later date.
If you’ve always struggled with networking beyond your close group of friends, have considered yourself “just shy,” or you need alone time, take a look at Jen’s new Soul Tribe Community, a safe private group where business owners and entrepreneurs can foster authentic relationships and support each other’s journey. Jen also provides several great resources in her free Facebook group, Connect & Elevate . Have more questions? You can always connect with Jen at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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