Networking Tips for Wallflowers

Some people are adept to networking.  They exude confidence as they present during conferences, shake hands with people, and introducing themselves to anyone willing to listen.  However, others are not natural in networking, who can be a bit introverted or have principles that contradict to the concept of networking.  You may find it a bit fake or you think it might mean "using" people.  Nevertheless, networking is an essential tool in business as you get to know more people and learn from them. 

If you are not comfortable being upfront when it comes to handing out business cards or introducing yourself out of whim, you can try these suggestions to expand your network without resorting to what you think as "sleazy marketing."

Be true to yourself

Stay true to yourself.  If you are not comfortable participating in large-scale networking events, avoid them.  If you are more at ease whenever you are at informal situations, then go ahead and network yourself by casually chatting to other people.  When building your contacts through e-mail, it is best to personalize your approach and send your introductory e-mail in a manner that suits your personality.  In the long run, those who would surround your network are the ones you like you for who you are.

Be a friend

Great networking also means you have to be a great friend.  Ask clients how they are doing, and take a genuine interest in their life and concerns.  People are more likely to conduct business with your more often if you are their friend rather than some business entity.  It does not mean to pretend being friendly in befriending clients.  If friendship does not seem to be developing naturally between you and your potential contact, then leave it.

Keep in touch

Networking is not just about introducing yourself, but also letting people know what you are up to.  You may send occasional newsletters to old college friends or holiday gifts to your clients.  You can also connect with friends from high school using social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter.

Join a club

Get together with fellow colleagues in your industry on a regular basis, or you can network through special interest groups that you are passionate about like comic book collectors, tennis enthusiasts, or Pug owners.  Let other members know what you do for a living because you never know what connections might spark.


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