“Men acquire a particular quality by constantly acting a particular way. You become just by performing just actions, temperate by performing temperate actions, brave by performing brave actions.” ~ Aristotle
If you hate networking, get a job. You will become what you do.
You have seen those people who walk into a room and greet the world. They come in talking and hush only after they drive away. They never have a problem finding someone with whom to converse. That is just not me! Maybe it is not you, either.
Basically a shy person, I have found that I function better at networking sessions when I have a sense of purpose. It is easier for me to talk to others when I have a reason for being there. That’s why I always look for a job.
Don’t you find it easier to stand with purpose than to wander aimlessly? So get a job. I can’t be bashful, if I have something to do. You don’t have to wait until someone asks you to do something. Just look around and find a need. Event coordinators love volunteers. They love knowing that their members and guests are being greeted. It’s a tremendous load off their shoulders to know that i’s are dotted and t’s are crossed. You are their new best friend!
Volunteer to be a greeter. You don’t have to know everyone because volunteering will give you a reason to be at the door. Don’t collect the money or pass out the agendas. Those purposes won’t give you time to say any more than “here’s your receipt” or “put your card in the bowl.”
I want to say “Hi, I’m Becky McCrary. I’m so glad you’re here. Be sure to register for the door prize. Is there anything I can help you with? Were you looking for anyone in particular?”
While I have their attention, they are already reading my name tag and wondering what is a Professional Speaker. It’s a great intro.
With a reason, I have a place. I can’t be uncomfortable, if I know my place. You don’t have to wander around the room, looking for someone to talk to. You have a place and it goes with the job you’ve chosen. It’s yours.
With a reason, I make progress toward my goal. I can’t watch the clock, if I’m accomplishing my goal. You notice how uncomfortable people are when they are constantly checking their watches. Yet, when they are busy and getting something done, the time seems to just fly! It’s the purpose that helps free you to make progress. It enhances your comfort zone.
When you are physically, emotionally, mentally present, you’ll take that job to help others. Perhaps you will
- guide and help make networking beneficial for others
- rearrange, refine and retool to be certain of an optimal performance
- introduce your peers and contacts to each another
- lead the way around obstacles, hindrances and pitfalls
- allow others to learn from your experiences
An offer of help can be the catalyst to a new professional relationship. Now that’s a reason to hurry to your next networking event!
How do you network “On Purpose?”