Networking is definitely easy for those who are confident, sociable, and eloquent. They could reach out to people with ease and less stress. But how about those who are not used to speaking with people they do not personally know? Being shy, fearful and apprehensive can be a real challenge when it comes to networking, and even if you are sincere with your intentions, people could question your credibility when you’re too shy to talk and present your business.
To help you address this problem, here are 10 tips you might want to consider when you’re in the networking business. Increase your network with these valuable tactics:
1. Start talking with your warm market
If you are fearful of approaching people with your business or product, approach first your friends and relatives, those people who trust you enough to listen to you. However, make sure that you let them feel you are there to help, not the other way around. Focus on their needs and concerns rather than on your own. Learn to ask the right questions that will open them up to share. Introduce your business or product with the right timing – when they are opening up areas of needs and concerns that can be solved by your product or business.
2. Do not apologize
Introverts often apologize when asking for other people’s help because they see networking as something they impose rather than a practice in building relationships. Don’t feel like you are asking everybody’s favor or stop thinking you’re not worth other people’s time. Well, if you think that way, you need to change your way of thinking. Affirm in your mind and heart the truth that you are precious and have some precious gifts you can share.
Apologizing could demonstrate lack of professionalism and also, it’s annoying. It’s simple: you are offering something of value that may or may not be appreciated. Accept that as reality but simply express natural confidence in what you have to offer.
3. Go to the basics
Humans are innately social creatures, so shy people aren’t originally shy. There’s just something that triggers it or their experience made them so. Smile, listen, ask questions, and be open to your sincere intentions.
4. Be yourself
Some shy people tend to think that they should be extremely extroverted when they are networking, no. You really don’t have to make an effort to be normal. If you’re actions look artificial, people will think you don’t have the right intent: to help himself. Discover the goodness and giftedness within you; act and speak from this center of your being.
5. Engage through your passion
If you are the bookworm, talk to people who like to read. Join networks and attend gatherings who share the same passion as yours. It will make the conversation so much easier and will help you feel more comfortable.
6. Give and give
Sometimes shy people think they don’t have something to offer such as money or job. Indeed, networking works best when you have something to offer but it doesn’t mean that it has to be material. Praise and sincere recognition and appreciation of the other is a form of generosity and promise to go a long way. Always relate with sincerity, truthfulness and authenticity.
Think of ice-breaker trivia or questions you can ask people that you meet. If you’re not used to talking, getting tongue-tied or freezing up is normal. Be prepared for worst case scenarios and be ready to have answers to questions people might ask. Learn from other more experienced networkers about these common questions and their respective appropriate answers
8. Get over rejection
For sure, there will be people who won’t like you or people who don’t want to help you. That’s life, accept that. Don’t be afraid of rejection, don’t take it personally and never dwell on it. Whether you like it or not, it’s part of the process.
9. Take risks
The person right next to you in the bus might have a fabulous network or contact or anything that will be beneficial to both of you. If you get over the fear of rejection, strike up a conversation; break the ice first because people might just be feeling the same. You will always wonder until you try.
10. See a doctor
The ability to be with other people is the core of networking. If you can’t connect to people, you will never be able to network. If you cannot overcome your shyness on your own, see a therapist or counselor who can help you understand why you’re shy and ask for some recommendations on how to capitalize this to your advantage.