Not too long ago, I found myself driving to a networking event. The closer I got to the event, the worse I felt. The whole idea of going into a room filled with people I didn’t know and trying to talk to them just sounded heavy.
The more I thought about it and the closer I got to the event, the more I realized just how much I was dreading it. There was no way I was going to be my best self at this event. I just didn’t have it in me!
So, I did the best thing I could have done that night: I turned around and drove home. That isn’t always the best answer, but sometimes it’s exactly what needs to happen.
Do you struggle with networking because you’re an introvert?
Maybe you don’t like talking to people you don’t know. Or maybe you run out of energy quickly? I sometimes find just the idea of networking exhausting!
If your business is local and it counts on you connecting with people in your local area, this can be a big problem!
So what are you going to do about it?
Here are some ideas:
- Check your expectations: What do you tend to think “networking” means? Are you putting unreasonable expectations on yourself?
- Go in with a plan: If your energy is low, maybe you can just set a goal to talk to one person who is your ideal client. Accomplish that and you can call it a success!
- Focus on connecting. Find out who they are and what they do, and let them know the same about you. And let that be enough!
- Let your networking take a similar pace to dating. The first time you meet, just get to know each other. It really shouldn’t be more than that! Save the more intense conversations for a second or third visit over coffee. And definitely hold off on the sales conversations for at least that long, unless they invite it.
If you’d like to explore this topic further, I invite you to check out the video below.
If you want to jump to key topics in the video, here are some timestamps to note:
1:30 Introvert energy limitations and sources
3:50 Setting networking goals
6:50 What not to do
7:10 How is networking like dating?
9:30 Managing your expectations about networking
12:00 What you have in common with everyone else in the room
16:45 Other options besides local networking events
17:50 How to network in a Facebook Group