Recently I had the pleasure of chatting with a good friend who mentioned that while I do a great job of telling people how to set up a plan of attack for networking, he still does not not think what I suggest resonates. He still feels I teach networking to people like me, not like him, an introverted person who does not enjoy being around people and does not enjoy hustling to meet people.
This got me thinking. How can I connect with that person? Are you that person? It’s possible. And you know what? I know how you feel. I have felt the same way. It’s not natural for me to work a room. It has been a product of necessity. As a small business owner, my business lives and dies by effective networking. As they say, “necessity is the mother of invention,” and my invention is systematic networking.
So how do we get over that hump from from knowing what to do (having a networking plan), to having the appropriate attitude to be able to implement our plan? Well, admittedly, it can be hard. It requires more digging deep and putting yourself out there, than it does preparation. All the preparation in the world can’t convince you to actually act.
To me the MOST effective way to act is by having fun. For this I like to look forward to the small things. Here are a couple actionable ways to have fun while networking, and thereby enjoy taking action:
1) Make a game of it. How do you make a game of networking? When you head to a networking even have a simple game in mind. One I like is networking BINGO. Try and find people who’s first or last names start with a B, I, N, G, or O. Yeah, that “O” might be tough, but it will encourage you to get out there and look for it.
2) Bring a friend. I love bringing friends to networking events. If it is an event with food or drinks it’s a pretty easy sell to invite a friend even if it is not advancing their goal. When we have a partner, the anxiety can easily be lifted.
Good luck, and have fun out there!