Networking 101, a lesson for introverts and extroverts

In this video Tom and I cover networking. We discuss how this might look as an introvert or as an extrovert.  Tom and I are two very different people but we both agree that if you are in business, you need to learn how to network. I have 2 graphics the show some networking that I have done, where I have taken an online meetings into real life connections.   I also included 8 tips on how to meet anyone, anywhere, anytime (politely). So today it is a watch and read episode!

Here is the link to the  book we mention, Quiet by Susan Cain. To see more of my episodes with Tom you can see them under the category Smart Creative Business.

Tips on how to meet anyone, anywhere, anytime (politely)

Tip 1: Go in with an open mind and warm heart. I know, it sounds sappy, but if you skip this principle, the other tips won’t work. If you walk in with an air of desperation, people will smell it on you a mile away. Even “determination” without the right energy can be a turn off. Energy. Ugh! There is that word again. Don’t understand it? Here is a crazy simple idea, watch back-to-back episodes of Caesar Milan’s show The Dog Whisperer. I consider myself a very spiritual person, and I didn’t get what energy meant until I watched The Dog Whisperer. Animals and people sense fear, desperation, weakness, as well as openness, warmth and a friendly heart. Watch it. Get it. Your pets (and your people) will love you.

Tip 2: Here is a tip that is a no-brainer that people rarely put into practice. Talk to everyone you meet. In the van from the airport. In the line for coffee. In the elevator. I can’t tell you the countless connections that I have made “on the van.” Speak up, ask who is attending your event, ask them where they are from. Let any discomfort go and lead the conversation. It is not an interrogation.  It is well-placed, genuine chit chat.

You never know who you might meet or who that person might know. I met a woman “on the van” to an event who later introduced me to a book editor. Bingo!

Tip 3: Play it cool but not too cool. Showing enthusiasm when you are meeting someone goes a long way to make a positive impression.

Me: “Oh, you work for So-and-So Publishing. I really like the author, So-and-So, who publishes with your company.  His book is one of my favorites.”

Book Editor: “Really?! I edited that book.”

Double Bingo! Call scheduled with editor to pitch my own book.

Tip 4: Lead with a compliment. In fact, bring your whole bag o’ compliments with you. When I attend  trade shows, I compliment hand bags, shoes, glasses. It is a positive ice breaker, and it opens the door to conversation.

Tip 5: Don’t be afraid to talk about what you do. It is okay to have your story in place.  But the real tip is to ask about what they do first. A good rule thumb is to politely ask for someone else’s  business card before you shove your card in their hand. I have seen more awkward moments when someone shoved his cards into the hands of a recipient without a request. ACK! I may have seen myself do it a couple of times, and it ain’t pretty!

Tip 6: Hang out. Don’t rush back to your room alone to order room service or stick to your friend like glue. Hanging out gives you the opportunity to meet more people. If you are looking over notes on a bench before a class starts, you will probably notice the speaker arrive early. Be of service. “Do you need any help?”  “Do you need me to hand anything out for you?”  If you are knowledgeable with  audio or visual technology, you are golden.

Tip 7: Follow through. “But I didn’t make any deals!” That is perfectly all right. Once you have that business card in hand, go home and write an It-was-so-nice-to-meet-you-email. Common sense again, but not enough people do it. I have been doing it for years without thinking, “What can this person do for me?” It is simply, “It was a pleasure talking to you.” I can’t tell you how this has paid off for me years later.

Tip 8: Keep in mind that people put their pants on one leg at a time. Don’t be afraid of anyone, even the Queen of England is just a person. I was a flight attendant for years and met celebrities, politicians, and musicians. Yep, they breathe air just like we do, and they deserve a little respect (like we do). Case and point: I was on a flight the other day and ended up a few seats away from Hilary Swank. Her seat mate and my seat mate had fallen asleep. Out of the corner of my eye I spotted her doing acrobatics climbing over her friend to try to get the bathroom. When she did it, I gave her a high five. Later we spotted each other both working on our knitting. We then engaged in a bit of chit chat (over two people) about our projects. Was this the  the time to hand her a business card? My husband says yes, I should have introduced myself and talked about my web show Smart Creative Women. I say no, we were not talking business or at a business event, and I wanted to respect her space on the planet. I do, however, think she is a smart creative woman, and when I run into her again, I will strike up a familiar conversation. Don’t think I will? Just wait.

One of the first rules of courtesy is a consideration for other person’s feelings. If you relax, open your heart, be respectful and show genuine interest in someone else, you can confidently meet anybody and have some every interesting doors opened for you.

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  • Loved this one! One of my best contacts for my new business was made in the blue van in Atlanta, returning to the airport there. Met a woman who was also flying to my small airport (Stewart Newburgh!): we complained about it etc. then talked business. Had dinner at the airport, flew home, and she is the marketing director for the company we now use to make all our melamine! Fun, quick, bright woman who really makes that company run (and she works totally from home, never going down to Queens to the plant!). Anyway, yes, I agree, talk to any and everyone!

    • Monica Lee

      I love it! Another airport van story!

  • Really great topic! Both my partner and I are more introverted and yet we are putting our creativity and parts of our hearts into the world. It can make us feel a bit vulnerable, but it is what we have to do. So, we practice and pretend as if we are comfortable talking to people and then it usually ends up we become comfortable! One trick I use is I tap into my curiosity and remember even when I am nervous that I think humans are pretty neat and I like to know more about other people’s stories. So a sales interaction can turn into a story swap into a meaningful sale into a long-term customer and sometimes into a friend. I am definitely going to read the book you both mentioned. It seems like an important read.

  • This hit such a nerve, I love running my own business but I do find it exhausting going out and talking to strangers. I couldn’t believe how wiped out I felt after each day of the first trade show I took a stand at, and while other people still had bags of energy! It’s good to know that’s a trait of my introvert personality rather than I’m just a bit of a sap!

  • LOVED this! Oh and I don’t know if you realize they are on there but I also LOVE the out-takes at the end. 😉

    Seriously, I smile whenever I see you two together because I can see how much you like and respect each other!! That is so refreshing. 🙂

    My hubby and I are the same but the opposite..I am the introvert and he is the extrovert. We make a great team and so do you two!

  • Monica Lee

    haha! I am so glad someone saw the outtakes!! That lead to me smacking him in the chest at the syart! You are very observant, Phyllis!

  • That was fun Monica. It is amazing who you will meet. It is really hard for me to get in a social scene. I can talk to a group but don’t put me in a dinner party or Chamber of Commerce setting. UGH! It is soooooo hard. If I take a cocktail it’s all over with! HA HA!

  • This was great, Monica! I haven’t read Quiet yet, but it’s on my to-do list! I’ve have seen the author, Susan Cain’s TED talk though and found it fascinating! Being an introvert myself, this conversation really resonates with me. I totally agree with what Tom said about the difference between being shy versus being introverted. I was very shy as a child and have worked hard as an adult so that it does not trip me up so much now. Now that I am not as shy, I can see that introversion really is to do with how you process information and what energizes you and what drains you. My so called ‘downtime’ is very energizing for me. I’ll be asking for the Quiet book for Christmas! 🙂

  • I cracked up at the outtakes too! I devoured Quiet when it came out and found it validating as well. It’s funny, when i talk with those who know me, they haven’t a clue that I feel as introverted as I am ~ sometimes ‘fake it (authentically) until you make it’ works. Where I still find that it creeps into my life is with networking so your tips are valuable and appreciated. Thanks Monica ~ I’ll definitely be keeping these in mind with my art dealings ~ mainly gallery representation, which is my next goal!

    • Ha! Thank you for watching all the way to the end Patty! Woot! You go girl with the gallery presenting! Big steps for a big heart!

  • Ron Moerbe

    Wow what a great interview! Tom, you are a good interview. What the heck do you do with a house full of extroverts, no wonder my hair is grey. Dad is very interested in the book. He may order it today. You all make a precious couple….i saw the out takes.

  • I just sent this to my Evernote. Thank you for the helpful tips. I am on the introvert side and think these will come in handy on many occasions. I’m dropping by from the BYW yahoo group.

  • Annette in Sweden

    Thank you for a very nice theme and video. I just learned much about my self and my husband after 20 years together. I´ll promise to stay back a lite bit and give him some extra time in discussions, since we definetly are one of each kind – introvert and extrovert.
    Have a good day!

    • It’s nice to understand our mates, isn’t it? My parents said the exact same thing after 50+ years!

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