If you want to thrive in your STEM career, where so many people are introverts, try the following easy networking ideas. To be promoted to leadership, learn to network. Making connections is another way to learn about discovers in your field, new career opportunities inside or outside your organization and advance in your career. Networking can also lead to lasting friendships.
Never stop learning is one of my a favorite mottos. And with that in mind and knowing that my networking skills could be improved, I signed up for two workshops on networking.
You might think, that as someone who is a professional speaker that I find networking easy. Not true.
When giving a presentation, I’ve been asked to use my expertise to present on a topic such as leadership or overcoming the imposter syndrome. I have also done homework to learn as much as possible about the audience. It is entirely another thing to walk into a room with a large group of strangers. Any networking event with 100 attendees or more and I find myself at a loss. That’s where the following networking tips become invaluable.
Most of the ideas I am sharing, I gleaned from attending the following two workshops at Rowan Tree: Networking for Introverts and Tell Your Business Story in 60 Seconds. The following networking ideas work well for Introverts, Extroverts and the majority of us who are Ambiverts.
Listening is a Superpower and Essential for:
- Developing relationships
- Selling Your Ideas and More
- Advancing your career
Prep for Networking:
What is your elevator pitch/how will you introduce yourself? Eric Byrd, networking guru, Pitch for Success, says the purpose is to get a conversation started. In 60 seconds or less, tell them who you are, what you do, who you do it for and tell them something INTERESTING about yourself.
- What is the theme of the networking meeting?
- Have you done your homework?
- Can you ask insightful questions?
- Ask questions about the other person.
- Share ideas?
- What one thing, do you want people to remember about you?
Wear a Conversation Starter:
- An unusual lapel pin
- Crazy shoes
- Wild eyeglasses
This is one of my favorite networking tips. I have two that I frequently wear. As a professional public speaker, I find my microphone pin is great to wear to any business networking event. People see it and automatically ask about it. And when I wear my French Kitty watch people always notice and if the person is a cat lover like me, it creates an instant connection.
My French Kitty Watch
Psych Yourself Up:
- Find a phrase that encourages you.
- Do you need music to calm the soul?
- Or music that makes you want to sing and dance?
- Tell yourself you can leave after 30 minutes.I use all of these ideas for large events or where I don’t know anyone.
The Networking Event:
Put your planning to work – ask insightful questions and share ideas. Networking is about building relationships – how can you help others? It can be as simple as saying “Let me know if I can help?” Whether in person or at a video networking event, exchange contact information. Most video conferencing services allow you to chat with a specific person. Using the ability to chat with one specific person is how I recently found a business partner.
For in person meetings:
- What is your conversation exit strategy?
- It can be as simple as shaking hands, saying nice meeting you.
- If this is someone you want to connect with exchange business cards.
- If there is a genuine connection, use your smartphone to make a follow-up meeting.
- Block time on your calendar for follow-up. This one suggestion has made a huge difference for me and I put it followup time on my calendar before the event. This one action it makes attending networking events worthwhile.
- When you follow-up, share information or an article that interests them.
- If you are pressed for time – send a one sentence email, to be followed up later.
- If you’re crazy busy, send an email template that you personalize to let them know you want to connect and then a follow up later.
- Follow them on social media.
- Connect with them on LinkedIn
What to Do Now:
Remember all those business cards you got before COVID 19? Why not follow-up now?
Send an email, a text or connect on Linked and send a message. Set up a coffee chat using one of the popular video conferencing services like Zoom, which offers a free version. We are all feeling isolated and we aren’t chat around the water cooler. My experience has been positive. The people I have reached out to have welcomed the break to establish a new connection.
We can’t always be confident, sometimes we need to be courageous.
Rowan Tree on Pinterest – bit.ly/introverts.Pins