Networking is an essential part of business. You need it to grow your sphere of influence and to experience the ideas of others. For some, the prospect of meeting someone new brings on a fear that is hard to overcome. As hard as you may try, going up to a stranger to introduce yourself feels awkward and uncomfortable. But, it is key to meeting new professionals that can help propel your business forward.
While the industry has made it relatively easy to network with a slew of events dedicated just to the idea, it is up to you to make the most of these opportunities. Being the wallflower at a networking event can limit your chances to meet new people and find that one gem that will help your business grow.
Below, seven members of YEC Next share the one way you can proactively work to build meaningful business relationships if you are naturally shy or if you aren’t used to reaching our or going up to people. Here’s what they had to say:
1. Understand The Power Of Listening
I always encourage people to be themselves and not try to become someone else, because that will always come across as disingenuous. You do, however, need to push yourself outside of your comfort zone. For extreme extroverts, they generally need to learn to speak less and listen more so that they do not annoy potential business relationships. An introvert, in contrast, will need to push themselves to be a bit more assertive and to reach out to talk to someone in a social setting. When doing that, however, you don’t need to turn into a super-gregarious person, you just need to have genuine conversations and use the incredible gift you possess — listening. People are naturally attracted to people who actively listen to them. What you perceive to be a weakness is actually a strength. – Ryan Meghdies, Tastic Marketing
2. Take The Conversation To Social Media
Being introverted or shy doesn’t have to hold back a business owner. Advancements in technology and social media allow us to build and maintain relationships with very little hassle. Connecting with others on social media platforms is arguably easier than in person. Mediums like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and so many others, provide access to endless amounts of businesses and individuals who are equally eager to connect. Make initial contact online, and once you’re comfortable, reach out over the phone, or schedule a meeting. Otherwise, challenge yourself to be better than your weaknesses. Make a habit of conquering your fears, and soon you’ll question what it was you were afraid of in the first place. Remind yourself that your business deserves to be seen by others. – Bryan Driscoll, Think Big Marketing, LLC