28, 10, 2015
Any professional will tell you that networking is a big part of being successful. Phrases like “it’s not what you know, but who you know” and “your net worth is your network,” stress the importance of networking with other like-minded professionals in order to get a head in your career.
As a former introverted introvert (now I’m an extroverted introvert), networking was a big and scary necessary evil. I dreaded going to events because I had no idea what I to say or how to introduce myself to people. I didn’t know where to go after the initial “hi, my name is.” My new work situation and aspirations of blogging kept thrusting me into these very uncomfortable and awkward situations. After a few interactions, I realized that I had a networking hack that really worked for me.
Wear a conversation piece.
My biggest piece of advice/hack for introverts anxious about networking is to wear a conversation piece. As a self-proclaimed fashionista, every time I went to an event I made sure that I was dressed to the nines. Each time involved me wearing something unique or eye-catching. Without fail, people would walk up to me and give me a compliment. That gave me the courage and confidence to continue the conversation. In most cases, this lead to an exchange of business cards and a new contact to follow up with. Once I started viewing the interaction as two friends catching up on fashion, I was no longer intimidated by the situation. At times when I was feeling really confident, I would flip it and compliment someone else. Again, we would engage in conversation and leave with each other’s information.
Now that I’ve done my fair share of networking, I don’t need to rely on my statement piece safety blanket as much. Don’t get me wrong, I still wear something eye-catching and I still give compliments (that will never change), but now I feel more comfortable walking up to someone and introducing myself.
Whether it’s a pair of cheetah print shoes or statement necklace, I suggest you try this.
Pics: Akia Ng
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