Even if you are not very social, you can network. The most important thing is to keep your fears in check and be honest with yourself about what you want from the interaction.
If you go into a meeting or event without clear expectations and with a good attitude, then you will enjoy the experience more and feel better prepared to meet your goals.
For anyone nervous around people, there are ways to improve your conversational skills . A video chat room or online forums are great tools to help you interact with people more comfortably.
There are many apps these days that aim to help you work through nerves before talking to people. By practicing communications, you will get more comfortable.
To connect with other people, you need to show interest in them and their story. If they’re worth their salt, others will like them and love telling their stories. You don’t have to know much about football or Shakespeare to make a friend or contribute to a conversation.
"Being confident in your abilities and being aware of your strengths and weaknesses helps everyone else focus on what they can add to the discussion" suggests Dan Smith of Keynote Speakers . People will feel more inclined to trust you and talk to you more freely.
The hardest part about building relationships is realizing how valuable those connections are and making an effort to engage with others instead of keeping them at a distance. It takes practice and confidence, but it will pay off.
Nobody is surprised when people mention that they met someone at an event or at their place of work.
But how many times have you heard about someone “networking events”? These are where you can meet other people in a friendly setting, usually through food and drink. It may sound uncomfortable, but it needs not be.
Introducing yourself into a conversation makes you seem more approachable and trustworthy. You will also have a better time if others know who you are.
Keep introducing yourself and saying hello, even if you don't feel like talking. Don’t do this every day, but once or twice will make your network grow. Put out there that you are interested in what these other people do and ask them questions. They will start to trust you and like you for who you are.
Also try buying business cards and putting your contact information on them. Then you're always prepared. People might just walk up to you after the conference is over to ask who you are and give you a call or email.
Take advantage of networking events
Even if you are not sure what to say, going to network events can be very helpful. Events include things like business social hours, open mics, community forums, and conferences.
"Finding out more about your industry or getting back into it is valuable no matter who you are, but by engaging others with your insight, they may just put their trust in you even when you offer them help" suggests John Rogan of Motivational Speakers .
Networking events allow you to meet other people looking for information and relationships. Engage yourself and you’ll find that out. You also have the option of creating your own event where there isn’t already one. Finding time to do this takes effort and money, however.
Even if you don’t feel like speaking, practice telling stories using your hands. It’s called “tellings” or “pitch-tellings” (the specific term can also vary by region). By practicing creating story sentences and gestures, you will know how to connect with other people and share information.
You may not be able to write a full sentence yet, but it is still crucial to learn how to tell stories. A common mistake that many make when first learning about networking is that they think that all conversations start with questions. Questions are fun and easy, but just knowing how to ask questions doesn’t mean that you understand how to talk to someone.
When you are trying to network, it’s easy to become too self-conscious and nervous of talking too much . When you notice yourself doing this, stop for a moment and recall what you were going to say before stopping. It is okay to stop and wait until you are ready to speak again. You will give yourself time to gather our the words that we want to say.
Also work on being aware of my name. I am somebody, and who I am has nothing to do with what position I hold in society nor with how good I am at dealing with others. I am someone because of whom I have made myself over a long period of time.