Your Network is your Networth
Even if you’d rather stay home…
I’ve always admired people who would turn to the person next to them and strike up a random conversation. I tried that a few times before and failed miserable. They’d either answer my question and redirect their energy to something else or continue a conversation with the person next to them. Why was networking so difficult for me?
As an introvert, I realized the importance of having a presence and making it known. Unfortunately, it was in my nature to stand in a corner and text my friends about how uncomfortable I felt or play a simple game of solitaire. Before long, I was a solitaire champion who made no personal connections at networking parties. I can’t tell you the amount of times I’ve attended industry events with the who’s who of the entertainment world, only to end up leaving early because I didn’t know how to connect with others. My personal motto became, “I came, I saw, I left early.”
Leaving early is cool and all, but at some point, you have to utilize your time appropriately. Networking is an art that I haven’t mastered yet, but through my journey, I’ve picked up a few tips. Now that you’ve got yourself in the room, let’s look at ways to maximize your opportunities.
1. Trust the Vibes.
Introverts can be very spiritual beings. In a crowded room, see who you gravitate to. If you see someone else in a corner on their phone, chances are they’re having the same struggle you are.
2. Bring your business cards and make 3 connections!
So you don’t waste your time at an event with great contacts, make it your personal rule not to leave an event without handing out at LEAST 3 business cards.
3. Fulfill the mission of seeing and meeting who you came to meet.
If you’re determined to get back home to the comfort of your bed, make sure you absorbed what you came to receive! If it’s a networking party, don’t leave without connecting with who you came to connect with. If it’s a panel don’t leave until you hear the person you came to hear, speak. Whatever the reason for you stepping out, make sure it’s fulfilled!
4. Put it away, NOW!
Put your phone down. Trust me, I get it. In situations like this, the cell phone is the oxygen tank. It’s the heart beat. It’s vital to your survival. Put it down. Sometimes our discomfort comes off as disinterest. For as long as you can bare it, put the phone down and people watch. Looking alert and present may encourage others to spark up a conversation with you.
5. Be proud of yourself.
Celebrate the small victories! Sometimes just attending a networking event is a huge step.