How to: The introverted Guide To Networking Events

As introverted entrepreneurs, networking events may sound like a hassle. Even though introverts may think that it’s something to fray away from by all means necessary, It’s also crucial to their success as brand owners and entrepreneurs. I have many clients from networking events and numerous of leads that fell through. ( That’s another story, though). Here, I’ll show introverts how to make the most of going through networking events, almost effortless.




Update your LinkedIn 

 
It caught me by surprise to use this as a valid point of something that should be done before you go to a networking event.
Yes, people are actually using LinkedIn as their business cards and apparently it worked quite well because I’m still in great contact with a few of the people that I met. I had a percentage of those to turn into paying clients!
At my last networking event with Network under 40 at “the office” in Atlanta, I actually came across quite a few people who didn’t have business cards but were quick to draw out the LinkedIn game! The conversation went something like:
Me: “Hey, I’m Greg. Im a brand strategist, consultant and Web developer. I help entrepreneurs start up, stand out, and succeed”
Them: “It’s nice to meet you, Greg. I’m _____ and I’m a ____. I think that I can use your services.”
Me: “Great! Here’s my card, call me or email me and let’s make it happen. Do you have a card of your services?”
Them: *No, but you can pull me up on LinkedIn real quick!”
me: “LinkedIn? 🤔🤔😐”
It took me by complete shock. I knew people used LinkedIn for business, but I didn’t know that I would be exchanging connection through it “at” a networking event.
Please be aware that if there’s someone that you really want to connect with,  make sure that they can easily connect with you on any social site, especially LinkedIn, in case they aren’t as prepared as you are with your business cards.

Take a buddy

 

My first 2 networking events were slightly awkward. So awkward that I knew that I needed to have someone to help me. I knew the problem, and I addressed it before hand!




The issue was that I’ve never been to a real networking event and I had no idea what to do besides start a conversation and hope it works. Well, that wasn’t my strong point.
I took one of my clients who is very outspoken and a natural sociallite. This made it easier on me by atleast 100%. He started and engaged most of the conversation and I chimed in and engaged slightly all while letting him lead up to me passing out my cards and reeling in the contact! It was magically perfect!
The buddy system at networking events is one that I see often now that I consider myself a self proclaimed, natural networking guru even though I still bring an associate with me, it’s usually just for good company and a ride along partner to the farther networking events.




Circle The room

 
This one was pretty simple for me. A networking event is on a few hours at the most. Think about a 3 hour event, It’s not a lot of time once you get going. There’s absolutely no reason to spend 30 minutes on one person unless they are paying you for your services at that exact moment.
I know that as an introvert, it takes some time to get going, and you met someone interesting enough to hold your attention, but you’ve got to keep moving!
You don’t want to miss out on 2 guaranteed clients, because you’re comfortable talking to 1 potential lead for 30 minutes. Keep in mind that the objective of networking events is to network with multiple people!




Have a plan/ Be prepared

I know, having a plan seems to be common sense but many people don’t actually have a plan when it comes to networking. One thing that I’ve learned is that: If i planned to do a certain number of things or to do things a certain way, I’d always come out way better than I would when I was just “winging it”.
For example: I’ve always set goals the day before the event. Usually, My main goal is to meet at least 15 people before the night is out. I mean really meet these people, not just exchange contacts with them. I like to learn about their brands before pitching my brand. Doing so, I can tell if they will need my services before wasting both of our times. I can’t explain how many time I’ve met people with one sided businesses (MLM, Financial advisors, ETC!) No offense!
 I also make a goal to circle the building at least 4 times. After that, I always plan to set up custom typed emails for each person that I came in contact with.
Every single person that I meet gets an email even if it only says: “it was nice to meet you yesterday, I hope to see you in the near future!”
So far, my plan has yet to fail me!




Here’s a few ways that I’ve learned to help me conquer and make networking events better as an entrepreneur. What are ways that you’ve found out that works as well?




Entrepreneurs; It’s Ok If they don’t “Get It”

One of the hardest things to understand as an entrepreneur is being around people who just don’t get it. “It” as in the mindset that we possess, the mission, the current and end goals that we aim for!
We often try to surround ourselves with the people that we’ve known for years. The same people that we thought would have our best interests in mind. Truth is, maybe they do have our best interest in mind. It’s possible that they are a part of the people that just “Don’t Get It”!
We are often raised with these same people, yet we have completely different viewpoints of the “it factor”. We have some of the same attributes, backgrounds, and even childhood memories yet, “It” isn’t something that they understand.

What good is it to our entrepreneur sighted minds when we try to help them understand our viewpoints as millennials, brand builders and entrepreneurs? They can’t see the “it” that we see!

So here’s the catch 22!

The bad news is that they will probably never understand! Never!  The good news is that, it’s okay that they don’t understand. You should consider yourself one of the few elite with a different Viewpoint that only a select few will know! Maybe that’s why you’re here reading this post, right?
Let’s put things into perspective!
It’s one of those scenarios where an employee gets a promotion and become a supervisor or a manager. I know this feeling all too well.
As an employee who has never been in management all you know is that management isn’t on the front line working and they don’t understand your role in the company. You may even feel as if they make decisions blindingly.
The moment that you become the leader of an organization, you start to see the things that you couldn’t see as an employee. You start looking at the bigger picture of what has to be done and how to achieve it because now, you are responsible for more than your front line role in the company!
Now as a leader, you notice all the backend work, you notice that the things that you said about management was completely false, you start to notice the smaller things that once before, seemed irrelevant!
Well guess what!
This is no different from your situation with the people around you that just don’t get it!
Well, They don’t get it. Now what?
As an entrepreneur who isn’t normally or naturally  social, I found it hard to bring new people around my ideas. I tried so hard to get my friends and other close people who didn’t get it, to revisit some of my businesses and help me make them happen! Guess what, They didn’t get it! I ended up closing the book on so many of my projects that I realized that I had to surround myself with people like me! I started finding local networking events, I starting reaching out to local communities and I start cold calling marketing. I forced myself to find those people who get it!.

Now that I understand that it’s ok if my close people don’t get it, I can save time on my current and future business by skipping to the good part.
If they don’t get it, don’t give it!
Have you had an experience where you realized that people just didn’t get it?