As you know, some bookkeepers are not extroverts.
So, for them to attend networking events, it can be mental torture.
If this is you, Larry Kim of INC.com has some great news.
He has collected 7 successful hacks that can make your social interactions at networking events much easier:
1.) Do Your Homework & Plan Ahead
Shy people struggle with starting conversations with strangers, but planning ahead can help reduce your anxiety. As the event approaches, do your homework.
Start by finding out who will be attending and look them up via social media (i.e. LinkedIn, Google+ and Twitter). Learning more about the event and some of the other attendees or speakers beforehand can help you feel you have some knowledge on which to base conversations.
2.) Set Goals & Stick to Them
You did your research; now go into the situation with planned goals. If the event is offline, plan to hand out 50 business cards and talk to 5 people. If the event is online, set a goal to follow up with a specified number of people with a phone call or email.
3.) Bring Your Own Swag
When networking offline, consider ordering a bright or edgy business card for networking events that is different from your normal design. A signature piece of clothing or jewelry can also help forge good conversation, as well.
Seattle entrepreneur, Rand Fishkin, for example, is well known for founding the digital marketing brand, Moz. However, he was first known by many as "that guy at the conferences with the bright yellow shoes."
It sure made him memorable!
4.) Focus on Them, Not You (at First)
A lot of introverts don't realize they're already great conversationalists.
In conversation, listen, then ask questions to take the attention off yourself and onto the other person. Don't feel you have to fill every conversational void with babble about yourself.
People love being asked questions and given a chance to share information.
5.) Use the Buddy System
It's always easier to make your way through a big crowd with at least one person you know and can turn to. If you don't have a co-worker you're especially friendly with, tag a friend along.
Just don't exclusively talk to that person or you'll miss out on making new connections.
6.) Have a Drink... the Good Kind
Now, I'm not suggesting you get drunk at your next networking event because that wouldn't be good for anyone.
But indulging in an alcoholic beverage at the start of the event can simply make you feel a little less anxious.
If you're at home and online networking, be sure not to overindulge! If having a drink isn't your thing then what is? I've seen people use everything from chewing gum to herbal tea as ways of relaxing.
What's your "thing?"
We all have one; bring it with you (within reason of course).
7.) Make a Cheat Sheet
In the same way some people use written affirmations on post-its where they'll see them often, you can use a cheat sheet of networking affirmations and prompts to keep these simple hacks top of mind.
Like anything, it's easy to commit to trying harder and making a change, but far more difficult to practice your new ways on a regular basis.
Larry, thank you for the advice.
Well, there’s no way around it.
Networking is crucial for your business.
But, if you practice the above and other suggestions, you’ll soon be able to handle social situations stress-free.
Your business is worth the courage, time and effort.
To your success,
Article by Michael Palmer
Michael is the CEO of Pure Bookkeeping, the host of The Successful Bookkeeper podcast and an acclaimed business coach who has helped hundreds of bookkeepers across the world push through their fears and exponentially grow their businesses and achieve the quality of life they've always wanted.