You don’t have to network alone. It’s easy for me because I’m an extrovert. If there’s such a thing as an extra-extrovert—it’s me. I draw energy from being with others. When I present or perform, the bigger the audience, the better, and when I go to networking events—I’m not shy. If you’re like me and look forward to networking, don’t see it as drudgery, an energy zap, or a waste of time then you can stop reading and skip to the third paragraph.
You Don’t Have to Network Alone
A Networking Friend
If, however, you’re like my wife or many of my dear friends and these events zap your strength draining your energy like a vampire sucking the life out of you, this is for you. Do you have an extroverted friend or co-worker? Sure you do. Offer to be their networking buddy. Explain your weaknesses and strengths. For example, although you may not be comfortable with approaching strangers, once a conversation has begun you may excel at sharing information.
- Approach an extroverted friend to be your networking buddy.
- List your individual networking strengths and weakness.
- Form a plan based on each other’s abilities and preferences.
The plan could be as simple as the extroverted friend works the room, identifying attendees who may fit your networking needs, and then introduces them to you. Your part would be to engage the prospect in conversation about their needs and possible connections thus freeing your partner to continue the hunt.
A Networking Team
Welcome back to those extroverts who skipped the last paragraph. Building a networking team is an expansion of soliciting a networking buddy. It begins by identifying co-workers and friends with similar interests and needs.
- Why are you networking? Are you looking for new business for your company or volunteers for a nonprofit? Do you want to find a new vendor or service provider? Are you exploring new career possibilities? First know what you want.
- Share individual strengths. A networking team will be made up of extroverts and introverts and everything between. Task team members in the role most suited to their abilities and personality.
- Work the room. Develop a plan of attack. Review the attendees list and assign team members. Understand who is best at technical explanations, gathering information, or warming up to prospects and give those tasks to the best team member for the job.
- Meet Afterword’s. Review the gathered information and develop a follow-up plan. Analyze what the team did well and where improvement is needed.
Where Are You Networking Next?
Whether it’s in person or virtual, whether you develop a networking team or a networking friend either can be the introverts answer to the dread of networking. And as far as extroverts, shoot we’re happy to join the team, we’re not loaners you know. So, what networking events are you going to in the near future? Need a networking buddy? Call me.
Are You a Good Networker?
I’d always considered myself an effective networker. I’m friendly, easy to talk to, and I’ve never met a stranger. However, none of that makes me a good networker – it makes me outgoing. If I wanted to be the most effective networker I could be I needed a plan. That’s how my networking workbook, Help Networking started.
My plan probably won’t be your plan. That’s why throughout the book there are worksheets, checklists, and simple CTA’s. Use these to create a networking plan that fits your needs.