Are you a small business owner that struggles with growing your business? Or you thinking about starting up a small business, but fear getting out there and building your network? This can be especially true for introverts, although the advice I’m going to provide you with will work for anyone – introverted or not!
There are several ways an introvert can successfully network, but the most important way to be most confident and successful is to prepare for networking in-advance. You can do this be preparing a “go to” list of questions that would be generic enough to work almost anywhere. Most people love to talk about themselves, so all you really have to do is be a good listener and know how to ask questions. When you take an interest in others, they most often take an interest in you, as well.
In-line at the grocery store? No problem. At a convention or summit? No problem. You can cater your questions to be a bit more specific if you know a bit about the other people that will be there (such as a specific industry conference, where you can ask industry-specific questions), or you can ask some generic questions, such as:
- What do you do for a living?
- What do you love most about what you do for a living?
- How long have you worked there?
- What is your biggest challenge in your line of work?
- What is it like working there?
- Where do you work?
- How long have you been in that line of business?
- How did you learn to do such and such?
- Do you have any mentors? How did you find meet them?
- Do you work every day? What are your workdays like?
- How many people do you work with?
As with anything in life, being prepared removes a level of uncertainty and discomfort, so just prepare in advance and network like a rock star!
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