Awkward, Alone, and Afraid
If you are like me, you become nervous and anxious when attending a new networking event. The thought of shaking someone’s “maybe unwashed hands” gives me chills as I type this. But to stay on topic, I have always been a bit awkward when meeting new people and leading a conversation.
I have become much more confident working at Roundpeg and attending networking events but still, I get pre-event jitters thinking about being surrounded by so many extroverts at one time. The reality is that not everyone at a networking event is an extrovert. There are lots of different types of networkers. Which one are you?
As you read the five descriptions below, you’ll see several helpful tips for making your networking adventures easier and more productive.
1. The Wallflower
The Wallflower is the ultimate introvert at a networking event. They tend to be quiet and won’t go out of their way to introduce themselves to someone new. They will most likely talk to the same person and stay in one spot for a long time. For wallflowers, it’s easy to let the conversation go on without saying much about your amazing skill set and business.
Tip: If this is you, find an extrovert buddy. Attend networking events together, and ask them to introduce you to new people. You can’t rely on them all night, remember they are also hoping to meet new people, but going with someone you know can get you started with a few introductions.
2. The Clinger
If you attend the same networking event regularly, you may notice the clinger. The clinger is the person who doesn’t stray too far from familiar faces. They tend to avoid reaching out to new people for the comfort and safety of what they already know. This can make networking difficult for people wanting to connect with them.
Tip: Don’t be a clinger! To make sure you don’t miss out on your next great connection, set a goal for the number of meaningful interactions you want to have at each event. Go to a new event without people you already know, this will force you to make new connections. Remember everyone comes to a networking event to meet new people, so don’t be afraid to introduce yourself.
3. The Social Butterfly
The social butterfly is easy to spot. They move swiftly around the room and their main goal is to befriend everyone they meet. You can consider them the life of the party with big personalities, loud laughs, and giant smiles! The social butterfly is great with names and faces, but not so great with maintaining current relationships, instead, they love starting new ones. A social butterfly is great with light conversations and tends to not linger too long with the same person.
Tip: If you are a natural extrovert and love making connections, try focusing on a smaller group rather than larger to have deeper conversations to make a lasting impression.
4. The Hustler
The hustler is at the event to sell, sell, sell. They are likely to push a product or service within 5-10 seconds of speaking with them. They have the attitude of “what can you do for me?” rather than, “what can we do for each other?” They tend to have a hefty collection of business cards and most likely will follow up with you within 24 hours about their service, even if you’ve shown 0 interest. These are the type of networkers that tend to go on and on with no break for air. Forcing you to use one of the flee the scene tactics to get you out of the conversation.
Tip: It is 100% ok to promote your business and/or service – “isn’t that the main goal of networking, to share your talents?” But, think about the other person as well. If you don’t care about them, why should they care about you? Ask valuable questions so you meet on equal ground in hopes to move further.
5. The Confident Networker
When I think of the Ideal Networker, I think of someone who has the main intention of building personal and business relationships. They know how to lead a conversation and ask the right questions. Confident networkers are confident and friendly and genuinely interested in what you have to say about yourself and your business. They can introduce others with ease and make everyone in a group feel valued.
Networking is an extremely rewarding experience and can help you gain confidence, new business relationships, and friendships. There are so many different events that will have all of these personalities or just a couple depending on where you are. When you are networking, set goals such as when to reach out, who to reach out to, and a plan to return to the same place to be consistent. For many of us, networking isn’t easy, but with practice, it can be enjoyable and a great time.
More than a Few Words about Networking
From our archive, Jared and Lorraine share some tips and tricks on networking. Listen now