The Shy Professional: Social Networking Tips for Introverts
Professional Social Networking - How to Overcome Shyness
Getting the Most out of Social Networking
Social Networking Fears
Do you feel shy when around a large group of people?
Getting the Most out of Social Networking
Initially my husband and I were supposed to attend one particular networking event together, but he got called to a last minute business trip. Therefore, I had to go it alone; can I tell you how terrified I was? He is the social butterfly; I am not. This video (to the right) by Arden Clise, with Clise Etiquette, shares four tips to get the most out of a networking event.
- First, she says to find out who will be attending and then decide who you want to meet with. - If I was meeting with other business colleagues or known professionals in my industry, this would be a possibility.
- Second, as soon as you get to the event, look for the people that you want to meet. I plan to seek out the most friendly and non threatening faces. ;-) Also, I may ask someone at the event to introduce me to those with the same interests. I believe color coded name tags are provided to identify similar industries.
- Three, spend no more than about five minutes per person talking to them. According to Clise, people are only good for about five minutes of small talk.
- Four, follow up with the people that you've connected with. Invite the contact to connect with you on LinkedIn. Personalize the message so they know where you met and what you talked about. Invite them out for coffee or lunch and stay in touch to grow your network.
How to Network even if You're an Introvert
Three MAIN Professional Social Networking Tips
- SHAKE HANDS
- MAKE EYE CONTACT
Drunk at Professional Social Networking Event - Don't do it!
Are you a shy introvert, like me, when it comes to social networking?
Arrive early to the event before all the chaos starts to help get your feet wet. Find someone to start a conversation with who might be as timid as you are. Try to avoid someone who looks like a social butterfly. Take a breath and slow down your speech when you are talking because you might come off as nervous. Just relax and try to have a good time.
Schedule a few events for the future so that you can "practice" and get used to social networking to help you become more relaxed with starting conversations with people. You may start to recognize people that you saw at other events which will help you to start conversations early by saying, "Hey, it's good to see you again".
Be yourself when you're at one of these events. People can always do research and find out who you really are and what type of person that you are. If you schedule coffee or lunch with someone they may be put off if you are different than you were at the social networking event. The only thing that you should fake at a social networking event is a smile. Smiling makes people feel more comfortable to talk to and engage with you.
Do not get drunk because you are nervous. Don't be the guy or gal who embarrasses themselves and ruins his or her reputation for a few weeks. People will be taking pictures and videos which they will put on facebook and may even tag you. Slow down, sip slowly, have a water between every alcoholic beverage, and eat something.
How to Overcome Shyness at a Networking Event
How to overcome shyness at a Networking Event
Jane Frankland, from the Go To Expert, explains how to network at an event. She brings out points to overcome shyness, or being overwhelmed, at a networking event. This will definitely help me because I do feel like I'm about to have a panic attack when meeting new people in a large group setting.
- First, she recommends to go into the event smiling and look approachable, welcoming, and happy. She actually recommends acting as a happy lovable puppy with your tail wagging (but don't be over the top).
- Two, when you are approaching a group try to hover at the sidelines, mirror the speakers, and look as if you are paying attention to what they are saying (hopefully you are anyway). Slowly as the group opens up, they will allow you in and then you can contribute to the conversation, too.
- Three, use some of the facilities like registration, coffee and tea station, or even the restrooms. You can strike up conversations literally everywhere and talk about anything. Start by talking about something mundane like the weather.
- Finally, use the even organizer by asking if they can introduce you to someone.
Nervous or Confident? Prepare before you go to be Confident!
Questions to Ask
What do you say or talk about when you first meet someone at a social networking event? What about if there is a silence in the conversation? First, decipher if the person wants to talk to you. Don't take it personally if the person doesn't act like they want to talk to you; just move on to the next person. When you find someone who does want to talk, remember to engage the conversation you need to ask more questions and listen to the other person rather than holding the floor by speaking more.
Ask open ended questions, instead of yes or no questions. This allows the other person to speak more which makes you appear more interesting; building and maintaining rapport.
Have they been there before? Is there something they can recommend? If they haven't been there before, find out what they are doing there. How did they get started in their position, business, or industry? Can they offer you any advise for their line of work? What do they love most about their job? What separates their business from the competition? What dream would you pursue if you knew that you could not fail? What is the most akward or funniest thing that you've encountered in your business? What significant changes have taken place in your industry? What upcoming trends do you foresee for your profession? What ways have you found most effective for marketing your products? If someone could describe you in one word (or sentence), what would they say? What do you do with your free time? What would make someone an ideal employee for your business?
None of these questions will help you if you are not absolutely attentive and interested in the other person.
Don't get in the car and overanalyze the entire trip to the point that you're worried about what was said when you left the conversation, if they liked your appearance, or if you did something wrong. Instead, try to think about how you can have an even better time in your next networking event.
Have we improved your confidence level?
After reading this article, do you feel more confident about attending a professional social networking event?
These sites may be helpful:
What tips have you found that could help others with professional social networking (in general) and overcoming shyness?