In my previous article, I introduced you to Chief Awesome Officer and coach to high-achieving introverts Katie Rasoul. This week, I recount how I took her terrific advice. A secret I don’t tell many people is that I, a self-professed expert networker, teeter between extrovert and introvert on the Myers-Briggs scale. After a long day of meetings, coaching, and generally being around people continuously, I need a moment to regroup.
Knowing this about myself, I tend to shy away from evening networking events. I know by nighttime, I am ready for family time, the tranquility of my home office, and a cozy robe and pajamas.
Recently I was invited to a gathering hosted by a fellow small town girl, Mindi. I waited until the day the RSVPs were due to determine if I would attend. While I could have made a laundry list of reasons why I couldn’t attend, there was not a single reason why I shouldn’t attend. I sent in my “Yes”, and in preparation, did the following.
- Practiced my pitch. Because I had featured the Mindi in a blog post, I had a natural opening to why I was there and what I do. “I’m a coach, speaker and writer whose mission it is to help make our big world feel like a smaller place. You might have read the article I wrote featuring Mindi.”
- Had a stack of business cards at the ready.
- Glanced through the list of attendees. I recognized a few names.
- Arrived at the start time of the event. When you arrive first, you get a lay of the land and can get warmed up with the other early arrivals.
I was greeted warmly by Mindi. To my delight, she had nametags for everyone to fill out. Not only did she ask you to put your name, but also “ask me about…” on the nametag. What a brilliant way to break the ice! I quickly met an artist and court administrator. We had an easy conversation and I found myself enjoying the evening.
Then I noticed an acquaintance I had met several months earlier. It was a natural way to ease out of my previous conversation and reconnect with her. That led to being introduced to another local coach who I was scheduled to meet with a few weeks later. By that time, I felt like I was in my groove. I even managed a few trips to the buffet without breaking stride.
The greatest bonds were with a paralegal and lawyer who shared their personal experiences and told great stories. Both have agreed to stay in touch. I followed up the event with emails and LinkedIn invitations to them both and added them to my email distribution list.
That night was a great reminder that in order to be a great networker, you have to network.
When is the last time you’ve attended a networking event? If it was recently – I’d love to hear how it went. A long time ago? What’s holding you back?
If you are nervous about networking, reach out to me. I’d be happy to spend 30 minutes with you to discuss your goals and help you network confidently.
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