Business Networking: No Offense, But I Don’t Want To Talk To You

Woman_looking_down
“No offense, but I don’t want to talk to you.  I’m not too keen on meeting you either. And dialing your phone number feels like leaping into a chilly swimming pool.

But I will call you. I will stop in your office, and I’ll force myself to attend yet another chamber of commerce event.

I have to. It’s my job.”

Ever feel this way at a networking event?  Well, you’re not alone.

This was actually the opening of an article entitled “Here’s How Introverts Can Survive and Thrive While Networking” from the Duluth News Tribune.  The author was describing how he, an introvert, often viewed networking.

Frankly, I don’t think you have to be an introvert to feel this way.  I’ve sometimes felt like a “reluctant networker” – perhaps I wasn’t “in the mood” to be social or I didn’t particularly enjoy being away from my family for another evening. Whatever the reason, the desire to network just wasn’t there.

So, what are some tips for “surviving” and “thriving” while networking?

Patrick Garmoe, the author of the article, summarized some of the advice from 3 experts at a local Networking for Introverts seminar.

1.  Arrive early.  You can stand by the nametag table and greet people as they come in by being in the natural flow of “people traffic.”

2.  Have a specific goal.  Before attending an event, set a goal for how many people you want to meet.  This will give you a sense of control over the situation.

3.  Use Facebook and LinkedIn.  By interacting with people often online, you create relationships and rapport before meeting face to face.

One last bit of advice was to use speed networking to your advantage. You can get more out of it for the time and effort you put in because you’ll meet more people in a very structured environment.  The author refers to this as “an assembly line for meeting people.”

How about you?  Do you have a tip for making networking more “bearable” for introverts?  Share it by clicking on “Comment” below this post.  Thanks!

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  1. Emilie Nottle says:

    I tend to be an introvert in a room full of strangers. When I arrive early to an event, and don’t know anyone, I’m not so into just approaching people without knowing anything about them if I don’t actually have something to say.
    However, during breaks and at the end of the event, I know a bit more about everyone, and naturally curious about some of the people there. At that point, it’s much easier to find common ground and make meaningful connections.
    Therefore, my tip for the shy and introverted is: don’t come early, stay late!

  2. Great tip, Emilie!
    It certainly can be intimidating for anyone (and especially if you are introverted or shy) to walk into a room where they don’t know anyone.
    Staying late — after you’ve learned a bit about the other attendees is a great way to extend conversations and to get to know someone based on a common point of interest.
    Many events offer a time in the program where attendees stand up and introduce themselves. I find this to be a good time to listen for the types of people I would be interested in getting to know better. I often jot down the name and company name and a note about why I’d like to talk with them. Then, as time permits, I seek them out and already have a great conversation starter.
    Thanks for stopping by and hope to hear more of your insights in the future!
    Cathy