Women Networking: 10 Tips for Shy Women Networkers
Business networking events can often be stressful for shy women. Networking is all about communicating with people, most often, these people are strangers so business networking evens can feel very intimidating to shy women. The good news is that there are so many networking opportunities to choose from.
There are the more structured men and women business networking events like BNI and LeTip. They meet often and give each person 30 seconds to a minute to share. This can be a blessing for a shy person, or a curse. There is also a new business networking model that launched April 2011 called TROVA Business Network which is also for men and women small business professionals, but this group has one networking meeting a month where their members share for 2 minutes, and one professional think-tank a month, which is a very personal and intimate way to address business questions and strategies from a safe platform. TROVA Business Network also offers its members 24/7 online advertising mini-websites as a part of their three-pronged marketing strategy. This is really perfect for shy people because your business is being advertised and you don’t have to talk.
There are also, women only networking groups, where shy women can often feel less stress. The Heart Link Women’s Network is a very intimate, informal networking group where women eat, sit in a circle and share with one another. Many women have reported that they feel completely safe when networking at the Heart Link Network women networking events.
Here is some advice to people who need to network that are shy:
- Start safe: practice sharing information about your products and services with people you are already familiar with and trust like – co-workers, past colleagues, family, friends.
- Approach your conversations with confidence: You are probably saying, “If I could do that, I wouldn’t be shy!” But confidence is something that we must practice. As we practice pretending to be confident a magical thing happens, we start feeling confidence.
- Know your business: It strengthens our confidence when we feel we really know what we are talking about. Know your products. Be prepared. Get great coaching by someone you respect and admire who is successful at what you want to succeed in.
- Practice: You know they say, “Practice makes perfect.” I don’t believe in perfection but I strongly believe in excellence. Practice will make you excellent at what you do. Practice, practice, practice.
- What are you passionate about?: Join clubs or attend events that attract people who are interested in what you are passionate about. Very often our passion can overcome our shyness and if your passion is not overcoming your shyness, ask yourself, “Are you really passionate about what you are doing?”
- Spread your wings: Flying can be scary. That is why the mother eagle pushes her young out of the nest. They learn to fly on the way down. Although it might feel safer, don’t cling on to just one “buddy” throughout a business networking event. Spread your wings and meet new people.
- Listen: It is easy to be less nervous when you are offering someone something of value. What shy people can offer is attention. Even if you are shy you can be a great listener and I will share a secret with you; great listeners are the best networkers.
- Get coaching: find a mentor who will work with you on your business pitch. We are need great coaches if we want to succeed at playing the success game. Find a great coach and listen to them.
- Follow up: This is one of the most important secrets to success that exists and this one is not just for shy people, but for everyone. The fortune is in the follow up. You must follow up and follow through if you want you business networking efforts to pay off.
- Be consistent: Okay, I get it. You are shy. What has that got to do with your commitment to be consistent? Especially if you are shy you need to pay attention to this success advice. Force yourself to be consistent. The more consistent you are the more familiar you become with the people you are networking with, the less shy you will feel. Just be consistent.
When networking to market your business, always keep in mind that everyone is there for the same reason: to meet other people, broaden their network and hopefully grow their business. Have any other networking tips? Let us know in the comments.