Lots of people talk about networking and how great it is to attend industry events, but no one ever talks about the way in which socially awkward entrepreneurs and business people should approach this type of events.
So how are socially awkward people supposed to waltz into a jam-packed room and leave at the end of the night with lots of business connections when they are barely able to look a stranger in the eye? Oh, and let’s not forget that these people have to make small talk with all these strangers.
They will start to panic; their hands will sweat because they are not able to articulate what they want to say to those strangers. They have a hard time finding the way to talk about anything so they prefer to just stand there quietly, eating some cheese and crackers, hoping they won’t start to stammer, lose their train of thought or blurt out some offensive statement.
So what should you do if you find the abovementioned situations all too familiar?
First of all, you need to just relax. You don’t have to change who you are because there is nothing wrong with you. Just because you’re not an entertainer who is able to thrill crowds with witty humor, this does not mean you are not a fascinating person. You may even be brilliant, so why would you prefer to talk yourself out of a networking event just because someone said that these events are frequented only by rockstar business leaders.
Forget about the old rules. They’ve come and gone. We live in the digital age and nowadays, there’s a vast array of ways people are able to connect with other individuals who will value their ideas even though the former won’t engage the latter in the traditional meet and greet. So why not break the rules and become a digital rockstar business leader instead?
Despite what extroverts think about people that focus on connecting with others via the digital environment (a way to hide behind their computer), you need to understand that your digital persona may be your best bet of sidestepping your social limitations.
So if you consider yourself a tongue-tied person, you should probably go ahead and create the sense of authority with your digital presence. In most cases, it will actually speak on your behalf.
1. First, go ahead and join online groups for professionals. Just because you may have a passion that doesn’t resound with any individual you know, do you actually think that you are the only one with that passion? Have you ever considered that out there you will find dozens and dozens of people who are equally as fascinated about their passion as you are?
Actually, almost each and every topic that you are creating your business around will have a thriving online community of individuals who are passionate about doing the same thing you are.
In order to find these individuals you could either search via your browser or by using hashtags. Once you introduce yourself, start to notice that you’re learning several things that otherwise would have taken you months or even years to discover on your own. And if you are a socially awkward business person, the best part about this is that you won’t have to go out and sit in your car for 15 minutes to recover from an anxiety attack.
2. Why not create your own community? Socializing is more difficult when a person finds himself/herself following social standards set by others. Why not risk it and create a community of your own that welcomes individuals in areas related to the field of your business?
For example, you could create a Facebook or Meetup group, a Google Plus community and even a Reddit thread in order to find people to socialize with
Given the fact that you will be perceived as the leader of this community, you are able to not only structure the activities, but also set the standards for how individuals interact with each other. So what’s stopping you to create a community instead of asking for permission to join one?
3. Also, you could organize online webinars. Hosting webinars that invite leaders and outstanding individuals from the field of your company to share their vast knowledge is a good way to network without having to make small-talk. This way you are able to streamline the word delivery of the latest developments within your industry directly from the individuals that started them, all without having to do a breath check.
Furthermore, you can even invite people you admire to host the webinar while you take care of the back end of the project. The best way to invite participants in a webinar is by email. Emails are one of the best communication tools available, that help individuals communicate in a more efficient manner. Don’t believe people who tell you that communicating by email is like a crutch when you know that it actually helps you represent yourself in the best way possible.
4. Lastly, create a digital-media platform. The best way to remain relevant within your field is to create a digital-media platform, whether it’s a blog, website, podcast or video channel. This platform will provide value to your industry regularly. By creating a digital platform that presents the best ideals and innovators in your field, you are able to attract some of the most brilliant minds whom you will want to know and befriend without having to meet with them for drinks.