There is an old saying that goes – opportunity awaits you everywhere; you just have to look for it. However, for introverts, shy people and beginners, networking environments can be daunting. Here is a beginner’s guide on how to network, especially if you are an introvert or just shy by nature.
Cultivating a professional network online is a crucial component of building a network with a view to receive board opportunities.
So, what are the easiest and most effective ways to connect with decision-makers in any industry?
Below are a few essential top-level attributes of a successful networker. When you interact with a person in the flesh or online:
- You should be curious, not needy.
- Show you are genuinely interested.
- Don’t try and sell anything; ask for their guidance and expertise.
- Carry business cards and give them to the people you want to meet again.
- Follow up a conversation with an email.
- Follow up with another email.
- Ask them a genuine question about their business sector.
- Remember to prepare at least three good questions you can deploy in any given situation.
- Don’t waste people’s time and just talk about the weather or your child’s hobbies.
How do I get out there and find networking events?
It’s never been easier to find networking events, thanks to the digital empire that is Google.
For example, if you are interested in networking at finance or banking events, just search for ‘banking conferences’.
If you are interested in FinTech, just search for ‘FinTech events’. Include the country or city where you want to search and Google will deliver.
Prepare a few strong questions to ask people. For example, ‘What’s the most challenging aspect of your sector right now?’