Are you one of those people for whom attending events is just sitting around and having a cup of tea? You observe people having laughs, drinks, exchanging numbers along with their business card and some possible handshakes.
Well not everyone is a social tycoon but networking is the key skill you need when you are trying to establish yourself and you are aiming to have a Startup at a city with many storms ahead. So what can be done to overcome your fears and all these situations?
1- What do you want to gain from your interaction?
Think about the outcome you want to have from that experience with a goal in your mind so that you stay concentrated while having a conversation with someone rather than being lost in a dimension unknown and get swept away helplessly. Sitting around with someone and not getting outcome from the conversation will just bring you back to the place you were.
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It might be a bit difficult initially but a fruitful conversion will have you break the ice and become more comfortable in your skin.
2- Manage Expectations
If you are nervous about the networking events then don`t worry yourself with the expectations that are totally unrealistic at the moment. You may not be able get 10 or 20 contacts at a time or rather make someone laugh with your jokes but relax. If you are having one quality conversation you should be thankful because one quality conversation is always better than the thousands of superficial ones.
3- Set a Time limit
It makes a commitment finite and less intimidating when you have already decided that how long you are going to stay at an event. Suppose you give yourself 20 minutes to get a name tag, a drink and meet at least one person in the area and all you need is just a few minutes to get adjusted to the environment. You might be surprised that often you have stayed longer than you already have planned.
4- A Step at a Time
It is often beneficial to take small steps rather than to jump with a long one which can possibly make you fall into a deep dark dungeon. Slowly, you will become socially comfortable and you will find no hard sharing your true personality. Take advantages of every day’s opportunity to establish a network for example if you are at an office, try interacting with your colleagues even during the short coffee breaks.
5- Call your Current network
If you have family and friends, well it seems you are lucky because you already have a network. You might be thinking what can I do with this network but these people can help you with your business issues and connections. If you need assistance solving a specific problem or finding new customers, talk to the people you know who like and trust you and have connections you don’t know already. A simple introduction is all you need to grow your own network.
If you think you are still nervous, then try to challenge yourself in a situation that is low and of course there no risk taking it. Go to a town nearby where you are totally new and no one in that town knows you. Start a networking event and experiment yourself with new conversation start up and stories. So even if you make fool out of yourself in that area it won’t matter much because no one really knows you.
7-Putting it all together
Being an introvert isn’t something negative or shameful. In fact, it’s quite normal. While the mainstream media and pop culture makes it seem as if everyone else is an extrovert, the truth remains that a significant portion of the population is reserved and laid back. As an entrepreneur, being an introvert can work to your advantage. However, you must know how to effectively utilize the skills you have.