Networking For Introverts Or Beginners
Blog 2 of 8: Interviews with Businesswomen Julie Mason, Tracey Abell and Colleen Tarrant. Interviews, transcriptions and blogs by Sophie Tarrant.
Tracey Abell and Colleen Tarrant shed light on the importance of networking, and how you can successfully promote your brand even if you’re introverted or diffident.
So you have your great business. You know that you offer a service or product that has a point of difference from your competitors (let’s just say it: yours is the best!). And yet, arriving at the networking event filled with suits, you find yourself lingering far too long at the sandwich bar. You find yourself scared to make eye contact, let alone speak.
Tracey suggests we remember why networking is so valuable.
Networking is one of the most central things to really successful businesses. It’s one of the best ways to generate revenue.
I have met so many men who sound really confident and they’re not afraid to ask for what they want. Sometimes women can be afraid or diffident about asking for what they want and about saying how good they are. And I think there a lot of women out there who are doing a fantastic job and are really good at what they do but we’re not necessarily very good at getting that across.
I don’t think [business people] need to be pushy, and I don’t think they need to be boastful. But they need to get the message out there of what they’re doing and how they can add value.
I think that just by sitting in a room at a networking event, without necessarily being overwhelming or gregarious, you can still draw a lot of attention to yourself and your product. It can be the clothes you wear.
Wearing a bright orange jacket and a nice big name tag so people know who you are and where you’re from. Or you carry something that will start up a conversation. I have a name tag that says ‘Problem-Solver’. Pretty much everyone in the room will walk past and say ‘Oh, you’re a problem-solver. How can you help me?’
If there’s not a better way to start up a networking conversation, it’s that. You don’t necessarily have to be outspoken or outlandish about it. You can simply carry something, do something, wear something that will make you stand out. Without it being rude or over the top.
Tracey, how can you learn to stretch your comfort zone?
If you go to the same event regularly, you’ll start to feel more comfortable in that environment. It takes time and investment. Networking is something you need to invest in because it’s a big marketing tool.
Colleen makes a final note on introverted networkers:
It’s harder if you’re an introvert in some ways, but it also helps with listening. You get to find out a lot about people and what they’re offering. You find that there are many fantastic people in business today.
Her advice? Be patient.
It’s taken me probably a good twelve months to build up high trust, high respect, highly functioning business relationships. They don’t build up overnight.
Here is Colleen’s favourite quote:
Tracey Abell is General Manager of DevelopMental Pty Ltd. Established in 2009, the business specialises in project management training. Tracey has presented courses and conferences across Australia. For more information, click here: http://www.developmental.com.au/
Colleen Tarrant is Director of IN8 Business Advisory. Based on a wealth of advisory experience, IN8 offers property investors and business owners effective ways to manage their taxes, risk and finances, for a brighter financial future and peace of mind. For more information, click here: http://in8businessadvisory.com.au/ and also http://www.bantacs.com.au/aboutus/locations/brisbane-office/