Read any article, book, or whitepaper geared toward business success and, somewhere within it, it will talk about the importance of networking. Of connecting with people who can potentially help you grow your company. While this may seem simple enough, for introverts, just the idea of meeting people face-to-face is enough to cause them to break out into a sweat.
Does this mean that people who enjoy solitude over business gatherings will, by default, automatically lose out on the opportunities that networking provides? Not at all.
It just means that, if you tend to keep to yourself versus being what others would consider “outgoing” or “gregarious,” networking with as little stress as possible has to be done a different way. Here are a few options to consider.
LOOK FOR ONE-ON-ONE NETWORKING OPPORTUNITIES
Just because business gatherings are a great way to meet a lot of people who could be valuable to your company, that doesn’t mean that there isn’t still value in networking one-on-one. In fact, sometimes meeting with just one person at a time gives you a greater ability to make a positive impact because you’re not competing with crowd noise or other interruptions.
For this option to work, you’ll need an idea of who in your local area you’d like to network with. Then, send them an email or give them a call and ask them to meet for a cup of coffee or a quick lunch to discuss your respective businesses and see if there’s a way you can benefit each other.
JOIN ONLINE GROUPS
Although joining online groups is a little less personal, it’s also less stressful if you aren’t fond of being around a lot of people. Another advantage of networking online is that you aren’t limited by local events or groups because you can literally connect with people who are on the other side of the world.
A few online groups to consider include:
- StartupNation. This online networking site offers the ability to connect with others no matter what stage your business is in, whether you’re just starting out, trying to grow, or looking to meet others who can help with business management.
- Young Entrepreneur Council. To join this group, you can’t be over the age of 45 and you must be either a founder, co-founder, owner, or co-owner of a business. If this is you, this group enables you to not only meet others who may offer some great advice, but it also allows you to watch a variety of live and prerecorded seminars.
- Opportunity. The unique thing about Opportunity is that it utilizes algorithms to better connect you not only with people who can help you from a business standpoint, but it also lets you know who it thinks would be good sales leads, top-notch job candidates, and more.
ASK FOR INTRODUCTIONS
As an introvert, it’s often much easier to meet new people if you’re introduced through someone you know. This is true socially, as well as in a business setting. So why not ask your current connections if there’s anyone in their circles that they think you should meet?
A huge benefit of taking this approach is, as long as you trust the person making the recommendation, you’re more likely to make a positive match. Asking for introductions also gives you more credibility with the other person, increasing the likelihood that they’ll follow through with the connect.