With the stiff competition in the job market and the high number of hopefuls, networking is becoming more crucial now than ever. Referrals can help you land a coveted job. And to someone who’s an introvert, this may pose great challenge.
You need not transform to that aggressive type right away just so you can grow your network, but you should be able to move out of your shell and learn mingle with people once in a while.
During networking events when participants are ought to interact with each other, you cannot just stay in one corner and kill time watching the scene around you progress. You should get yourself out there.
Here are few ways you can network and feel comfortable about it.
Don’t worry. You need not act talkative to be accepted. Being a good listener is more important than being the talker in the conversation. No one would like to get stuck speaking with someone who thinks they have established a close bond with the person right away when they have just met. Let the person speak, allow them take the floor. Share when you’re asked, but never monopolize.
2)Start networking before the event.
Extend extra effort reaching out to people even before the event starts. This way, you automatically earn excuses for approaching someone especially if you have already been exchanging emails or coordinating about the event. You also wouldn’t have to start from scratch introducing yourself.
3)Tag a friend along.
In case you are allowed to invite a friend, do take someone with you so you will not have to feel alone. Together, approach someone on the floor for some talking. Once you have gained confidence and are ready to navigate the crowd, then separate from your pal and explore on your own. Later you can meet up and introduce to each other people you have met.
4)Arrive there early.
Getting there on time keeps you from attracting unnecessary attention and also makes it easier for you to talk to people. The crowd has not formed sub-groups yet, and so you can approach anyone without the fear of not belonging.
5)Go where people frequent.
For the introverts and perhaps even for those who claim they are not, approaching someone and introducing himself can be difficult. The solution to this is find a spot that draws traffic, say the food table. Here, while lining up with the rest of attendees, you will be able to strike a conversation with someone with less effort. You can simply say hi to the person next to you, and ask about the food. Another strategy is to find clues on similar interests among the guests and take it from there. For instance, you are following a particular shoe designer and you see someone wearing one item you love from their collection. Then do greet them saying you adore their shoes.
As much as you enjoy talking to a person, you cannot stick to one guy at the entire course of the event. You will have to talk to others too. This means you will need to make a graceful exit on every conversation you say goodbye to. Remember to exchange contact details with the person and be courteous as you excuse yourself.
This is the most important thing that you should do in networking events. While it helps that you do some brushing up on current events just so you do not feel at lost, do not forget about your identity – the music, sport, and movies you really prefer. You may not get everyone’s approval, but you can be sure people are going to like you for who you are.