Networking Tips for People Who Despise Networking

by Summer Alexander on May 2,2013

Summer Alexander ResearchYou know networking effectively can help to grow your business exponentially yet the thought of doing so sends you into a full blown panic attack. In fact you would almost prefer closing your business down rather than chatting with strangers, listening to 30 second elevator pitches and navigating awkward follow-ups.

So the question then becomes how do the introverts (like myself), shy entrepreneurs and socially reserved business owners learn to network with purpose?

Instead of forcing yourself into networking situations that make you uncomfortable try these 5 networking tips for connecting with potential customers, partners, and industry influencers.

  1. Volunteer – for a local committee, at your church, or your local homeowners association. It’s a great way to connect with people who have similar interests which makes it much easier for you to bring up your business in conversation.
  2. Enroll – in a local community college course or other business training . This will allow you to get some additional training while inadvertently networking with others in your industry – some of whom could potentially be joint venture partners.
  3. Attend – an industry tradeshow, conference or workshop. Many times networking is built into these types of events and even if it’s not you can easily start a conversation about a principle you just learned.
  4. Ask – strategic questions. When attending any kind of event always raise your hand and ask questions that let other people in the room know who you are and what you do. So for example if I were attending a workshop I would raise my hand to ask a question relevant to the topic and I would start it like this: “Hi my name is Summer Alexander and I own a market research and marketing consultancy. I’d like to know how I can use that last step you taught to…..”
  5. Be – yourself. Don’t attend events or attempt to connect with people who make you uncomfortable or who force you to pretend to be someone you are not. The number one benefit of being an entrepreneur is being able to write your own ticket and to work only with those people who are the best fit for you and your company.

Networking doesn’t have to be a dreaded event. Think of it like this – if you are passionate about what you do, it should be easy for you to tell everyone you come in contact with about the products or services you provide.

So let’s hear from you, what tips can you share about networking effectively? 

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