If you are a freelancer with an introverted personality, the idea of networking might cause you to cringe, even while you recognize the value provided by interacting with your peers. When any kind of networking event comes up, it does provide you with an opportunity to generate new business leads, and since you’re a freelancer, it’s pretty much all on you to go out there and start rubbing elbows. Even though this may run counter to your natural inclination, there are some strategies you can use which will help you overcome your fear of interacting, so you can actually derive considerable benefit from such events.
Offer Your Services to the Organizer
Volunteering at a networking event can be a fantastic way of breaking the ice with any number of people in attendance. In addition to meeting people before and during the event, you’ll also get to see everything that happens behind the scenes, and it will give you a much higher profile as the event itself is unfolding. Having participated in this way, you’ll feel a lot more confident, because you will have worked with other volunteers, and you are one of the event insiders who helped stage the whole thing.
Check out the Attendee List Beforehand
It’s usually a good idea to peruse the listing of attendees prior to the actual networking event. This will give you an idea of the people you may want to connect with, and it will make your time at the event more useful and more productive. Doing this ahead of time, you can also find out a little bit more of their background by checking the social media, and you will already have some conversation nuggets to exchange with them.
Prepare Some Ready Responses
At all networking events, you will undoubtedly run into a number of your peers who will ask you all the same kinds of questions about yourself and your business. Instead of fumbling around for answers each time, you can impress some of these people a lot more by having a prepared response which you can deliver confidently and easily. In general, this kind of ready response should include what kind of solution you can offer, who your target audience is, and why your product or service is needed by your target audience.
Prepare Practical Questions
Once you’ve delivered your ready response about your own business and your intended customers, it’s time to turn your attention to finding out some useful information about whomever you’re conversing with. If you’ve got some good practical questions in mind, this can be a whole lot easier and more productive. One thing to avoid when questioning colleagues at a networking event is to let them off the hook easily with simple yes or no answers.
It’s far better to ask questions that keep them talking about themselves and their businesses, because these are the things you really need to know. You can gain a great deal of value at a networking event by finding out what other attendees are working on, and about any trends that they see which you may have been unaware of. Any questions that you definitely would like to have answered at a networking event should be jotted down beforehand, so that you can usefully engage other attendees, and make later use of that information.
Lowcountry Business Advisors in Greater Charleston, SC strives to use our experience and passion to help business people achieve their goals. Let’s meet for coffee and see how we can network together.