I was leading a business networking event and at the end, I asked one of the guests how their night was, and she responded, “Not fun!”

(Not the response I’m accustomed to hearing.)

I’m an introvert.”

Why did you register for our event?”

I’m a business owner so I need to network.”

Our events are typically part cocktail party, part stand up and introduce yourself, and part strategic breakout groups. Throughout the event I noticed that the woman appeared miserable to the point that other attendees brought her demeanor to my attention. I guess she didn’t make the best impression.

It makes me sad to think that I met someone that dreads being at events but feels obligated to be there all the same.

If she’s miserable, how effective can she be?

And she’s not alone. Networking isn’t for everyone, although you can be an introvert and still be successful at networking.

Also, you can effectively network while never attending an event. If you know how to operate as a networker with your clients, referral partners, and on LinkedIn, you may never need to leave your desk.

That said, good networkers often look forward to the next event and the opportunity to meet new people.

Here are some ways to make business networking more fun, whether you’re an introvert, extrovert, or just getting started!

Embrace a Networking Mindset
Giving, listening, learning, helping – not selling!

Develop a Goal and a Plan
Here’s mine: Meet at least 3 new people with the intention to learn and laugh.

Prepare Questions to Ask
May I share a quick story? Can you relate? What brings you here? How did you learn of this event? What do you want to accomplish? How can I help? How can I learn more about…? (Start with that!)

Take Notes
Bring an index card and ask permission to take a note. Bring extras as people will ask you for them! (BTW, better than using your phone.)

Be Interested in Learning Something
If you’re genuinely interested in learning more about an industry, product, trend, association, marketplace, process, etc., it makes everything easier.

Have the Intention to Follow Up
Nothing happens without taking a next step. Sometimes there isn’t a next step but when there is, suggest what it might be and take it.

Have Fun!
Bring up fun topics such as vacations, sports, adventures with your kids, quilting, etc. If there is a holiday coming up, make it part of the conversation.

Stay in Touch
Make your lists and check them twice. Who will you stay in touch with and why?

Proofread, Rinse, Repeat
It’s a process. Decide what worked, what didn’t, make adjustments, improve.

Nobody can stop you from learning, having fun, meeting people, improving, and developing your confidence – except you!

Networking is about making a connection with you, first.


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