3 Crucial Networking Secrets for Shy People
Performing well at networking events requires confidence, right? That’s certainly no secret if you’ve been to one. Sometimes, though, it’s difficult to simply get out there and start a conversation, even if you happen to be an outgoing person. And if you’re a shy person, that task is even harder.
Yet if you happen to be shy, that doesn’t have to limit your ability to network with others. It doesn’t have to be a liability at all! Turn that shyness into an asset. Use it as a starting point for you to improve your conversational skills when you next find yourself in a social situation. Simply consider adding the following three tips to your toolbox. All of them — or any of them — can help even the most shy of people into networking experts.
1. Be Yourself.
This advice sounds trite only because it’s so very true. Studies have been conducted that show when meeting new people for the very first time, shy people tend to overcompensate. In other words, they tend to “puff up” solely for the purpose of making a good first impression. Yet if you focus so much on worrying about that impression, the other person might not see you for who you actually are. Since these people you’re meeting are potentially those you’ll be building long-term working relationships with, being yourself is a critical part of networking. It’s important to be aware of how you present yourself in every social situation; to know when it’s okay to let your guard down and when you need to be professional.
You may find, though, that hearing people’s personal stories told in a public forum such as at a Culture-FX event will help diminish barriers for people that tend to be shy.
2. Keep Aware of Current Events.
How do you start a conversation with a person you don’t know very well? It’s a big issue faced by everyone trying to network. At the same time, though, it’s an essential skill to have. One way to ensure that you always have something to talk about is to keep abreast of current events and news in your area, and around it as well. Use your discretion; if your business interests tend towards the local, then focus on the regional news. If they range wider, then add some national or even world news.
Staying aware of current events is a great way of making sure there’s always something to talk about if the conversation starts to falter. While you get to know your conversational partner, zero in on their key interests and try relating those to stories you’ve read in the news.
As always, Culture-FX provides an inviting environment for meeting great new people, and can be a terrific help for you, if you’d like to ease into a more confident personality.
3. Make Your Start With People You Know
If you’re shy, odds are the prospect of introducing yourself to a bunch of people with no prior “in” doesn’t sound fun at all. At times this will be necessary, to be sure, but at many networking events you can usually find at least one or two people that you’re familiar with. Starting off by networking with people you’ve met once or twice but haven’t yet had time to really connect with can help you improve your skills in a more relaxed and controlled way than if you were to simply go in cold.
It’s also a great way to get introductions to those people you haven’t met yet. You can ask your new friend to introduce you to others they know around the room. Culture-FX also assists by holding group conversations as well, which can be a terrific way to stretch outside your comfort zone without feeling too much anxiety. Try to build a core network of people you know and feel comfortable with. Let them help you grow and move forward.