We are so excited to present this guest post from Jenaé Elizabeth at The Creative Chief! We all know that networking with other professionals is such an important aspect of our businesses, but as an introvert, this can seem absolutely terrifying! Please join us as Jenaé shares her best strategies for networking for introverts!
Networking….we’ve all heard it all before
- Your network is your net worth
- The most successful people network 4-5 hours per month
- Networking is necessary to build your business
But networking is daunting and for introverts, it can make our insecurities really come to the surface -- and that means we’re not the most comfortable when connecting.
In fact, most people, regardless of their personality type find networking to be sleazy and stressful. But non-traditional networking can be very enjoyable.
Here are four proven strategies that create natural networking conversations
Create a new networking outlook: Regardless of if you’re an introvert or extrovert, as a creative, you probably draw inspiration from people, places, and things. A simple strategy that can help shift your mindset is to think of networking as “inspiration activity”. Put your mind at ease by seeing this as an opportunity to be inspired. Think less intrusion. More inspiration.
Be the first! Most of the time introverts find themselves going with the flow of large crowds or being the responder; which oftentimes is the root cause of overwhelm
Being one of the first people to arrive at a networking event makes the room manageable. It’s quieter and enables you to take advantage of an intimate setting. Plus, once the crowd gets too large you will either find yourself knee deep in meaningful conversation with just a few people that you met early on in the night or once you’ve had enough, you can slide out of the event and it wouldn’t have been a waste of time.
- Being the first person to introduce yourself is super scary (I totally get it) but it also puts you in control of the conversation, which is reassuring.
Create a listening lab - Most people initiate conversations with the goal of talking about themselves. In this instance, you’re initiating conversation with the goal of being a listener. Here’s a simple strategic sample script:
You: Hey lady, I like your _______________(shoes, shirt, purse, earrings, nails.
Them: Thanks so much. This find was fabulous
You: I’m _________ (insert name)
Them: I’m ________ (insert name)
You: How did you hear about this _____________ (insert name of event)
Them: They answer
You: What’s your creative genius? (or the standard, what do you do?)
Them: They tell you their unique value proposition. (i.e. I help _______, do ______, so they can ________)
You: Oh that’s cool, tell me more about that? How did you get into that line of work? That sounds really cool, what’s the best part of your biz? (the goal is to ask them something open ended that will give them the opportunity to share more about their biz)
Them: They talk, and talk, and (cause people love to talk about themselves)
Activate your spidey senses. As you’re listening, hone in on three things that can help the person you’re chatting with achieve whatever it is that they are talking about
Are they talking about problems that you can solve? If so they are a potential client. Don’t immediately outline your services, but offer a simple solution to one their pain points. i.e . I used to struggle with _______ too, have you tried _________ or one of my clients struggled with _______ too, have you tried _________
Do I know someone in their industry I can connect them to? (cause creatives love new friends). If so, I’m going to either make a live introduction or i’m going to respond by sharing that I’d like to connect them to ____________who does _____________
Can I recommend their services to someone? If so, tell them! They will be excited and flattered that you’re going to give them a referral
Remember all people, regardless of personality type classify networking events as slightly sleazy. This means people are on the defensive and think you’re coming in with the hope of getting something from them.
If they walk away knowing that you added value to their life by listening first, connecting them to possible collaborator, referring their services, or solving a pain point for them, then you easily set yourself apart from the crowd of takers.
Over time, the return on the investment of networking will payoff cause givers always get.
Hi, I’m Jenaé Elizabeth, founder of The Creative Chief. I’m sick of seeing creative chiefs, like yourself, fold on their fortunes and quit on their big idea because the hustle was too real. I’m on a mission to give you the strategy to stop the struggle.
After starting a successful dance studio from scratch, and growing it to 6 locations I became a sought after business strategist and speaker. I help creatives who sit in the CEO seat strategize ideas, organize an action plan, monetize their mission, and mobilize a team so that they can lead their empire and live with ease.