Business Growth: Networking Tips for the Self-Conscious Business Man

Business growth is directly impacted by the types of relationships we have.  Therefore interacting with people is most likely one of the greatest challenges you face in your business. You can have the best product on earth but if you are overly self-conscious, timid and reticent you need to work find ways around it.

As relationships are so crucial in establishing and building a successful business, let us explore ways to network.

Networking tips

When we think of networking, our automatic reaction may be of a group of superficial people, working a room and handing out business cards. It really need not be like this. So what can we do to make the best of networking especially if we are shy and somewhat self-conscious?

Go with a positive mind set: if you go with an open mind you will already be receptive to meeting new people.  Have the intention of finding someone to whom you can relate. Be a little playful and see the gathering as an adventure. Be keen to see how the event unfolds.

When we are relaxed we give off totally different energy to when we are tense and anxious. Others will sense this and be willing to engage with us more readily. If you are easy to relate to this will help you when it comes to networking for business growth.

Arrive early and start talking to one of the first comers: this is so much easier than arriving late and facing a room full of people already in conversation. There will be other shy and self-conscious individuals. Look out for them and strike up a conversation with them.

Connect with one or two people. You really do not need to walk out with a dozen business cards. Your focus is on having a meaningful conversation with at least one if not a few people.

The Kenyan environmental and political activist and Nobel laureate, Wangari Maathai, said that if she left an event having made one new connection she had succeeded. So be realistic about your expectations. Even one new contact would be good for business growth. Who knows who their contacts may be?

Take an active interest in others by moving beyond a superficial conversation. Start with topical matters to get them comfortable with you e.g. How the economy affects their business, sport, movies, books, restaurants, their family, holiday plans, etc. People love talking about themselves so find out more about their lives and interests. Make a mental note of interesting points e.g. their passions and hobbies.

Listen carefully and follow up on points that may lead to a more meaningful conversation. Listen really well. This is not a time to push your agenda, disagree or argue.

Be genuine and authentic. Just as you will find it difficult to relate to someone who comes across full of bravado, others will struggle to connect with you if you wear a mask. So communicate with them as you would with a good business contact: sincerely and warmly. Be yourself.

Start with the mind set of building a long term relationship with a new prospect. A new acquaintance, Jean, had a somewhat rude awakening when he stepped into a new contact, Paul’s territory. Jean was over friendly and tried to invite himself into Paul’s businesses. Paul is an analytical person. He likes to be in control of his life. He is extremely sceptical of people who pay him compliments when they hardly know him. Needless to Paul told Jean directly to back off.

Jean needs to learn sooner than later that it takes time to build a relationship of trust. He needs to be more conscious of taking time to build good relationships. Instead he needs to allow the other person to set the pace for the relationship to develop.

Share your knowledge and expertise. Allow others to get a glimpse into what you can offer or the value you can add. Be generous by sharing some of your expertise. In this way others will perceive you as being willing to give as opposed to only wanting to take. This can definitely contribute to business growth.

Follow up after you have made a good contact.  If the other person dropped an interesting piece of information follow up with an article, video clip or something pertinent to what you heard

during the conversation. This shows the person you listened.

Final point

It really is important to note that business growth is about building genuine and long term relationships. You want to have repeat clients.

So see any opportunity where there is a gathering of people as the chance to grow your network. Being an introvert or self-conscious really need not be a stumbling block.

Business coaching can assist you to find ways to network in a way that you are comfortable.



Posted in Business Owner, Relationships.