Networking for Shy People


When you think about attending a networking event, do you want to run into a corner and hide?

Read below for some tips on how to network when you hate networking.

First of all, realize – and we mean really realize – that you will not get ahead in your career unless you network in some form or fashion. No one succeeds alone and you will need professional friends to help you get where you want to go. Networking is a way of finding those professional friends.

You will need to go to business events such as conferences in order to meet people who can help you in your career. How can you help yourself get over your jitters?

Planning ahead.

Most conferences publish a list of attendees. Get a copy of the list and look for people you know and people you would like to know. Make a list of the ones you want to meet then research them on the Web. This will help you create discussion points and form questions to ask when you meet them.

When you approach your target individuals, do so by using some of the research you gathered from, for example, LinkedIn. Perhaps the person is connected to someone you know. You could introduce yourself by saying, “I see you know Judy Jones. I worked with Judy at my last employer. How did you and Judy meet?”

After meeting someone, use a tablet, smartphone or even a pad of paper to jot notes about your conversation with the person.

The point is to find something that connects you. Perhaps you went to the same college or you went to a seminar at which the individual spoke (“I enjoyed your seminar at last year’s conference, will you be presenting again this year?”). You see that he or she is connected to a current or former colleague of yours on LinkedIn and so on.

Aim for a good balance of professionalism and warmth. You don’t want to be all business – you want to be approachable yourself, but you should remain professional.

Once you leave the conference, do not wait more than a few days or a week to follow up. Ask for a connection on LinkedIn or send an e-mail as a brief hello and remind the contact of your conversation. It is best to hold off on calling someone unless the contact asks you to, or if the two of you hit it off at your meeting that a call feels like the next natural step.

If someone has not responded to you after two tries, let it go and aim to not take it personally. Just focus on the people who do respond. Remember, even if you approach just five people, you are bound to make a connection with at least one.

As you grow your business contacts, don’t forget to include recruiters in that list. The recruiters here at RealStreet Staffing can be a great asset to your career, as we know the movers and shakers in the architecture, construction and engineering sectors. Send your resume to us today.

The RealStreet folks are always helpful. They were instrumental in landing me a rewarding FEMA assignment in Southern California.

KC Green

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