In this article, I’m going to share with you some top tips I’ve learnt as an introverted accountant on how to network better when you go to a networking event. Others may find me to be an extrovert, however this has not always been the case. For the past 18 months, I’ve attended and surrounded myself and learnt from others how to network, here I will share with you what I’ve learnt so far.
The first tip is to be interested rather than trying to be interesting. Rather than trying to be very interesting and have everyone notice you instead be interested be curious ask questions but just be low key as well you don’t need to be over the top you don’t need to stand out, this is probably why introverts make better networkers. The old trick of being the class clown like it was high school won’t work in a professional setting. What you want to think about is, this is a very long-term relationship and first impressions are important but you’ll have more than a few bites at the cherry and that the small business community isn’t as big or as scaring as you first originally thought.
When I’m meeting someone I find things that we have in common because that makes it for a comfortable and have a continued conversation. For example, where did they go to school? Where do they live what things are they are interested in what type of careers have they had what are their passions or sports what sort of family situation have they grown up with so there are all sorts of common ground you can find fairly quickly. Soon you’ll find many whom you have plenty of things in common.
I’ve found it is better is to get an introduction from someone at the event then for you to have to go up cold. One thing to remember is to have empathy even if someone’s a big shot in my limited experienced be it multimillionaires, to a-list movie stars they’re still human and they still have challenges and sometimes their challenges are even bigger than yours so have empathy and remember they still have blood flowing through their veins they’re not superhuman they’re not aliens, they’re just normal people so never assume and you’ll find out that you know they are a lot like you and in many ways and just be cool and yourself regardless of their status or fame even if you are a major fan. Remember never ever follow someone into the urinal to continue a conversation it’s just weird and unpleasant!
Forming is a group dynamic, which is when groups come together and then the next phase is storming. Storming is kind of like a pissing contest to find out who’s who’s the jungle. Who the big alpha male in the jungle so this is the part where everyone brags just be a bit. You might want to drop a few names, mention one or two things that help people relation to where you are at for example something that will help people relate to the size of your business. Be cautious you don’t brag too much, be cautious not to overstep the mark and look like a giant douche bag.
If you happen to find someone and they’re a speaker and they’re about to go on stage and they’re miking up, remember at this point, it is a really bad time to start a conversation. They only thing on their mind is their presentation, they’ve got a presentation to deliver they’re in the zone and nothing is more important to them at the point is to go on stage and deliver on that reputation. It is a terrible time to be having a chat with them or asking them to pose for pictures, maybe wait until after they’ve spoken surely they’re going to get mobbed however they’re going to be relaxed and relieved and excited they’ve now delivered everyone knows who he or she and it presents an opportunity for you to compliment them on their presentation.
Something else I’ve learnt for those interested in going to Networking events, a lot of prep that goes into it called ‘pre-event prep’. Things that would help like putting your picture on your profile and participate in the group threads that’s happening on social media on private communities around the event almost every event has a forum where people can meet each other put your picture there because if you are showing you don’t put a picture, people won’t recognize you. Make the barrier to connect as easy as possible both online and in person. The pre-event prep really helps bridge the introduction and conversation gap.
Networking doesn’t come easily to most accountants as we tend to be introverts, the ones whom you see that network well are trained extroverts or in the skills/art of networking. I hope some of these tips have helped you and if you are going to an event try them out let me know if they were helpful if you’ve got a few tips to add them and share in the comments.
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