Most people agree. Networking is one of the best ways to strengthen your professional ties, and climb the corporate and entrepreneurial ladder. But there are many people who while acknowledging this, find it difficult to overcome their shyness, even for the sake of success.
So how do you stretch those networking wings, if you’re not a social butterfly? Check out our five tips for the shy networkers, below.
1. Join Social Media Groups
Even the most socially awkward people can mask this on social media. There are plenty of groups on LinkedIn, Quora, Facebook, Google Plus, and even Twitter, that are specifically geared towards networking, and at an international level.
Grads should join them and start making key connections. You may have the opportunity to meet with, and even work for, these people later on — maybe even halfway around the world. You never know!
2. Meet Business People on Tinder & Bumble
Most people view Tinder entirely as a dating app, and a skeptic few, as nothing but an electronic black book for hookups. However, Tinder is a tool like any other; the results depend on the user, and perhaps some luck.
Even so, not every date has chemistry. And sometimes, these neutral meet-ups turn into friendships with a business network you can tap into. Hailed as the feminist Tinder, Bumble has so recognised this that it has a specific section of the app for business networking.
While using these apps, however, even when it has a specific section for business, be clear about setting your boundaries and sticking to them. Working for or with someone you’ve been dating or sleeping with, can get awkward.
3. Attend Meetups
Even better than Bumble at setting boundaries is Meetup. Especially for college graduates starting out away from home, this app is a great tool for connecting you with like-minded people.
You can meet other graduates to bounce ideas off, as well as entrepreneurs looking to attract talent, or professionals open to mentoring. We’ve had one client attend a tech meetup in Atlanta to scout for young talent, so best believe, it does happen.
4. Business Cards
Some people say business cards are a thing of the past, but I disagree. People will need your contact information, and not everyone has the patience to scroll through their contacts, google you online (if they even remember your name!), and seek you out.
Get business cards, and hand them out to as many people as possible. Make sure the card has your name, your credentials, your social media, your website (if you have one), and the kind of work you’re interested in. Some people also go a step further to add their picture.
5. Start a Blog
In 2015, I tired of corporate life and quit my job to travel and freelance as a writer and PR specialist. I started a blog to document that journey, and then launched my PR firm in 2016 to celebrate 10 years of doing PR work.
Roughly 90% of queries and clients still come from that blog and the social media pages tied to it. Through the blog, I was able to connect with soon-to-be clients, while building my credibility as a writer and publicist. This is a route many college grads can take as they continue to hunt for their dream job.
You don’t need to be a social butterfly to make key connections in the business world, but it does help. These tips will help you master your shyness to comfortably work your way into the world of business networking. Good luck!
About the Author
Alexis Chateau is the Founder of College Mate and Managing Director at Alexis Chateau PR. She is an activist, writer, and explorer. Follow her stories of trial and triumph at www.alexischateau.com.