For many people, returning to in-person meetings feels like a shock to the system. Others cannot wait to fill their calendars with face-to-face opportunities. Networking is an essential social and career development skill and now is the ideal time to manage new situations. Not everyone is comfortable walking into a room filled with strangers. In fact, those extroverts who seem to “work a room” effortlessly are typically prepared with a plan of action beforehand. They may research the group days ahead of the event, look at a list of attendees, seek out the membership representative, ask for an introduction in advance or even bring a colleague or friend along.
Stand out! According to PR expert, Janet Falk, “Use color in your attire so people will remember meeting you. At an event, be distinctive with a colored blazer or scarf for women. A camel or light gray sport coat works well for men or to add a dash of color, go for a pocket square.”
But what if your style is not so exuberant? Can an introvert still network like a seasoned pro? According to Devora Zack who offers tips to connect with others in large groups, the answer is a resounding, “Yes!” Creating business opportunities can be a compelling enough reason to get out there and it is an assumption that everyone else has the innate ability to do so with ease. She breaks it down into a three-part process:
· Pause: Introverts are often good listeners and planners. Use those skills to prepare, thinking through responses and setting goals in advance. Practice asking short questions. “What brought you here tonight?” is always a safe ice breaker.
· Process: Instead of seeing the WHOLE room, focus on a few particular people. Use those listening skills to learn more about your new acquaintances. You will be memorable as a non, self-promoter. Remember to follow-up.
· Pace: Introverts typically renew their energy alone. Focus on one activity and take a break. Retreat so that you can recharge and repeat the process.
Remember to smile and who knows, you could connect with some interesting people and leave with an expanded network and new business!
However comfortable you assumed you were with choice and change, it may morph into overwhelming anxiety that was never anticipated. This makes it the ideal time to engage the support of a career coach with experience in helping professionals achieve better, faster, results. At KICKSTART Your Transition we offer a broad range of services to fit your needs.