You walk in a room filled with people talking proudly of themselves. It's another day for networking. You then grasp for air and begin to have butterflies on your stomach. It is time to speak up. But how? You try your best to hope that a big hole on the floor would suddenly swallow you. No such luck. So you sulk and wonder how can a shy guy like you make it good in networking?
Now, relax. You should have spent your night preparing for such big event. That means getting a copy of all attendees and to already identity the people to target. You should have also decided on a question to ask them so they remain interested in you. And, you should have not forgotten to prepare your introductory lines.
The right opening line can make a big difference. This can determine if whether or not you will catch the interest of people within the meeting. And, do not forget to pair all the talking with a firm handshake and an eye contact.
Be very careful with how you introduce yourself. While a shy guy may want to do everything just to appear confident, however, this does not go like "Hi, I am John Doe of XYZ Consulting firm. So tell me, how do you feel about running the biggest oil mining company in the world?" This will most likely trigger disbelief. So instead of appearing like an airhead, act naturally and friendly. Be relaxed and social.
Talk to each prospective client as if you are building a relationship instead of selling anything. Once you are able to connect with the client like a friend, you can do the marketing after. Some networkers however would get too excited and jump into their marketing pitch right ahead. While the latter option can also be effective for some but for a shy type like you, it is best to remain careful with your moves.
Never speak like you are promoting yourself to the client. Although culture may have something to do with this but it would be better to be on the safe side. In America for example, self-promoting is alright but in Australia, you might be seen ridiculous by doing this.
Next question, should you arrive early or late for a function? There is a great debate behind this question. Some think that arriving early may mean that you do not have any nice thing to do. Like you are not busy with any business venture, therefore you can afford to be there on time. Nonetheless, for some, arriving late can mean very unprofessional. But for an entry level networker like you do, it is better to arrive early. This way, you can warm up and get a feel of the place. This will also give afford you the opportunity to be introduced by the host to other attendees.
Attach a nametag to your clothing at the right side of your body. As people shake your hand, they will be able to read your name and may even recall it in the future. Do not let a conversation go more than five minutes. Talking too long can be an obstacle for you to better go around and meet more prospective clients. Also, do not let your eyes wander around the room as you talk with someone. This can be offending.
Follow all these tips so you can change yourself from a shy guy to the man who rocks the networking world!