Anybody who is great at anything will tell you that it took a lot of practice to get to that point. In networking it is pretty much the same—especially if you are shy. You have to practice and work on your skills to chip away at any fear that you may have. Just remember that your shyness will never disappear 100%, but practice will bring that percentage way down. Now here are three more tips that will help you build confidence:
7. Go with the flow
Hone your skills. Nothing helps the shy person more than practice and repetition, so the more you go to events, the more you will find out what works for you and what doesn’t. I like to practice some of my small talk in the mirror, like “my, your dress is pretty”, rather than “wow you have a big nose”. Just remember that each event and its attendees are unique and you must be ready to adjust with each situation. “Practice does not make you perfect, it makes you less shy and helps you have the ability to adapt to dynamic conversation”.
In my book, it takes two people to have a relationship so please follow up. Email is fine but hand-written notes are best and will be remembered. Don’t get stuck trying to craft something too clever which could cause you to procrastinate. The main thing is to be timely and relevant to any conversation you had, just say it was nice to meet them and offer a clipping of an article or some link that may be of interest—again, keep it simple. Always focus on helping them. If you have something to sell that’s fine, just make sure it’s not blatant—subtlety is key at this early juncture.
9. Patience is your friend
I do not think that there are any natural born networkers, it is a honed and practiced skill necessary for meaningful personal and business growth. For the shy person like you and me it can be a daunting and scary task but not impossible.
Just remember to have a simple plan, set some simple goals, use some common human skills, be passionate, and take it one step at a time. In time you will build confidence and you will eventually be really good at it. Take it from me, the secretly shy guy.
Stay tuned for my last tip in a couple of weeks. “Exiting a conversation”