If you’re a chamber of commerce professional, hating to network places you at a disadvantage. Networking and making connections are very much a part of your job. So to be successful, you really need to be a successful networker.
But how do you do that if you’re an introvert, shy, or someone who doesn’t consider themselves a “people” person?
Here are a few quick tips.
Become a Better Networker
See Yourself as Giving Something to Those You Connect With
A lot of people who hate networking hate it because it feels fake. If you rethink your approach as sharing your gifts, skills, and knowledge with others — and getting the same from them — you may appreciate the efforts more. Seeing networking as a possibility for learning and exchange makes it less of a chore.
Give Yourself Networking Goals
Instead of just walking around mingling, give yourself a few simple goals for the evening. Then you’ll have a mission and a feeling of tangible success when you achieve it. Keep the number of goals for yourself small so that it leaves time for enjoying serendipitous conversations and meetings as well.
Look for Ways to Connect Others
With the goal of connecting others, networking becomes less of a requirement and more of a puzzle to solve. Who should meet whom, what introductions will be most beneficial?
Ditch the Negative Networking Talk
Stop using words like “schmoozing” and other negative terms for networking. Using words that play up the fake and phony ideas will make you dislike the process more. Instead look back to idea number one and use some positive self talk that you are learning and helping people meet their goals.
Think of Commonalities
You want your member businesses, and in turn your community, to thrive. Business owners want the same. Thank about this commonality when you’re talking with them. It will make you feel good, which will be evident in your interactions with everyone.
Becoming a better networker doesn’t have to be a taxing chore if you keep in mind the benefit to you and your members.