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Networking for Shy People

If you ‘d rather have root canal surgery than attend a networking event, this post is for you.

To extroverts and outgoing people, this might sound extreme, however to an introvert or a shy person, the thought of approaching complete strangers or engaging them in conversation can be anxiety-inducing. Introversion and shyness appear similar, but they are 2 very different characteristics. Introverts typically succeed in smaller, more intimate settings because they choose to be alone, but they are good listeners. Shyness refers more to how a person deals with others in unknown situations; they have a hard time meeting new people, and in most cases, it’s fear-based.

Here are the important things: If you find it challenging to engage with people, face to face, and even online, that’s OKAY. Networking isn’t something all people are innately good at or comfortable doing. Yet with some practice and a few simple hacks, you can manage these scenarios with more ease and less concern. Keep these hacks in your back pocket for the next networking event you’re dreading.

Networking is fundamental to good business and marketing, so embrace it by finding what works for you.

1. Do your homework and plan ahead.
Shy people battle with starting conversations with strangers, but planning can help in reducing your stress and anxiety. As the event approaches, do your homework. Start by learning who will be there and look them up via social media (i.e., LinkedIn, Google, and Twitter). Discovering more about the event and some of the other participants or speakers beforehand this will help you feel that you have some understanding on which to base conversations.

2. Set goals and stay with 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 five people. If the event is online, set a goal to follow up with X-amount of people with a phone call or email.

3. Bring your own swag.
When networking offline, think about getting a cool or edgy business card for networking events that is different from your regular one. A signature piece of clothes or jewellery can also aide conversation. Moz founder Rand Fishkin, was first known by many as “that guy at the conferences with the brilliant yellow shoes.” It made him memorable!

4. Focus on them, not you (at first).
A lot of introverts don’t realize they’re already great conversationalists; the idea of conversing with other people might make them so anxious they won’t give themselves a chance. In conversation, listen, then ask questions (we have a helpful guide here) to take the attention off of you and onto the other person. Don’t feel that you need to fill every lull in conversation with babble about yourself. People love being asked questions and given a chance to share info.

5. Use the buddy system.
It’s easier to make your way through a huge crowd with a person you can turn to. If you don’t have a colleague you’re particularly friendly with, tag a good friend along. Do not just speak to that person, or you’ll miss out on making new connections.

6. Have a drink
Now, I’m not recommending you get tanked at your next networking event, that wouldn’t benefit anybody. However, indulging in an alcohol drink at the beginning of the occasion can make you feel a little less anxious. 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”? All of us have one; bring it with you (within reason of course.)

7. Make a cheat sheet.
In the very same way that some people write affirmations on Post-Its use a cheat sheet of networking affirmations and triggers to keep these hacks fresh in your mind. Like anything, it’s easy to commit to trying harder and making a change, but far more difficult to practice it regularly. Happy networking and we will see you at the Hirespace awards on 17 October: ).

Conversation Starters to Get the Most Out of Networking Opportunities

Most people will like you if you start out by showing an interest in them. Asking them about their opinions, experiences, and interests is a great starting point.

Instead of viewing networking events as a chance to push your agenda, adopt the mindset that each event is a chance to find out as much as you can about the people there.
In other words, if you want to get the most out of networking events, stop focusing on self-promotion and focus on developing new friendships.

Let’s dig in.
Two Bullet-Proof Ways to Kick Off Conversations

Over my 17-year career in events and marketing, I’ve worked in very diverse scenarios, and truthfully, I can’t remember how many events I’ve attended. However, I do remember which topics have triggered the best conversations and have created the most connections.

One thing I’ve learned is that most people don’t react well if you hit them immediately with questions you need a cushion first. From my experience, variations of the two statements listed below produce the most interest and encourage people to chat with you:
“Hey, sorry to interrupt, but over the last couple of weeks I’ve been asking everyone I meet this one question …”.
“Hi, my friend and I have been arguing about something. Would you mind working as our decision-maker?”.
Both of these mysteries are hard to leave. They immediately create intrigue, and they indicate to the person/people you are talking to that an engaging conversation is coming.
Plus, they’re a great reprieve from the standard “So, what do you do?” kind of questions.
Here are some more variations on this first method that I’ve used to maximum effect over the years.
“Hello, sorry to disturb, but over the last couple of weeks I’ve been asking everyone I meet this one question …”.
“If you could take over the stage and give a talk about anything you wanted, what would you speak about?”.
“Why was your best manager the best?”.
“What type of role would you suggest for somebody who is just beginning their career?”.
“What’s the greatest lesson you’ve gained from one of your mentors?”.
“What’s the greatest lesson you’ve gained from one of your opponents?”.
“If you could choose any new skill to learn, what would it be?”.
“What does success mean to you?”.
“What makes the most effective leader?”.
“What’s the nicest thing somebody has done for you at work?”.
“If you could have any job in the world, what would it be?”.
“Do you think virtual meetings will ever be as efficient as in-person meetings?”.
“Besides getting confident at speaking in public, which other skills do you think open up the most opportunities?”.

The above questions are all work-based. Below are some more laidback questions that can help start solid discussions. Do not hesitate to make it more relaxed.

“If you didn’t need to sleep, how would you invest the additional eight hours?”.
“What superpower would you like to have?”.
“If you could choose your age forever, which would you choose? Why?”.
“If you could do it all over again, what would you study?”.
“What’s one book everyone should read? Why?”.
“Favorite quote?”.
“Do you have a motto or a set of words you live by?”.
“If we asked the childhood you what job you wanted to do, what would you say?”.
“Most self-help books are full of shit, right?”.
“How do you relax after a long day?”.
“What’s the one place you should never go on holiday?”.
“What’s an essential quality you try to find in others?”.
“What life hack has been most effective for you?”.
Now that you’ve opened up the conversation and you’re equipped with some conversation-generating questions, let’s move to ice-breakers.

“Hello, my good friends and I have been arguing about something. Would you mind acting as our decision-maker?”.
“Which skills do you believe will be most in-demand in the next 5 years?”.
“Do you believe having strong networking skills is the key to having an effective career?”.
“Follow your dreams is a dreadful recommendation, right?”.
“Do you think working from home is as reliable as working in the office?”.
“Do you think having a gap-year should be mandatory ?”.
“Most start-ups fail because their founders are delusional about how easy it, right?”.
“Women should have at least one paid year off from work after having a baby. And men at least 6 months, like in most Nordic countries?”.
“What role will smart devices play in the next decade?”.
“Listening to audiobooks isn’t as effective as reading, is it?”.
“Do you think people can change?”.
“Do you think universities do a good job helping students become work-ready?”.
“Do you think having strong relationships with your colleagues is the key to a happy workplace?”.
“Do you think your network identifies your net worth?”.
“What’s one topic in school that isn’t being taught but definitely should be?”.
The charm of these questions is that they get individuals speaking about their opinions and experiences, which is much more attractive than talking about yourself.
When you ask someone about which qualities make an excellent leader or boss, you’ll start to see if your values line up with theirs. When you ask someone about what type of speech they’d love to give or which book they’d recommend, you’ll find out about their interests.
Not only that, however, the chances are that their answers will provide you with openings to continue the conversation in a natural way. For example, finding out whether others believe gap-years are a great idea will open the door to asking questions about where they went to school and what they studied. This allows the conversation to flow in a memorable way.
Needless to say, the above questions work well in both one-on-one and group settings.

Speaking of group settings, if you’re not comfortable being the focal point and you choose to speak to people individually, try giving the “Compliment + Guess” equation a shot.
After the group separates or the person you wish to chat to more starts walking away, approach them and say…
“Sorry to bother you, but I couldn’t help noticing how great you are with people. Are you in sales?”.
“I enjoyed the story you told back there! Are you a motivational speaker?”.
“As someone who is clearly comfortable in their own skin, are you a mentor by any chance?”.
This framing is reliable not only because the majority of people love compliments but also these questions enable you to get more information about the other person.

Speaking of guessing, the next time you meet someone, and you have the urge to resort to the old “Where are you from?” or “What do you do?” question, stop yourself and try this reframe instead: “Where are you from? No, wait, don’t tell me. Let me guess!”.
“What do you do? Actually, don’t tell me. Give me a hint, and let me guess!”.
“Growing up, my dad and I used to try to guess people’s names and we got pretty good at it. I once guessed 40 names correctly in a row. Is your name Karen?”.
Then, take a stab at their character by observing their accent, clothing, quirks, etc

Oldies but Goldies
When attending your next networking event, you might just want to go with these oldies.
“If you weren’t here this evening, what would you be doing on a typical Tuesday evening?”.
This question unlocks the potential to discuss their pastimes, interests, side-projects, and families. This makes it easy to see if you share any interests with them.
“What’s your favoured part of your job?”.
“What advice would you give the 14 year old you?”.
“What’s the best advice you were ever given?”.
“What do you get up to on the weekends?”.
“If you could launch a company today, what would it be?”.
Or If You’re Going To a New City for an Event?
“I’ve never ever been to Birmingham before. Do you have any suggestions for places off the beaten track?”.
“If you had a totally free day and £500 to spend, what would you do in this town ?”.
“This is my first time at an event like this. What are the do’s and don’t?”
And Lastly, My Go-To Conversation-Starter,
“I think we have a shared friend in …”.
Word of warning: you need to do your homework (stalking) before the event. Luckily, social media makes this easy. The majority of networking events are plastered all over Facebook and LinkedIn, which makes it simple to identify who will be there. A quick cross-reference with names will help you to see if you have any shared connections. Put in the time to confirm you share real relationships, as everybody on LinkedIn appears to “know” everybody else.

End That Conversation
A big part of leaving a strong first impression that doesn’t get much recognition is how to end a discussion.
I never start discussions by introducing myself. There is a good reason for this: most people have a difficult time remembering names, particularly when they hear a name without any context behind it.
So, rather of leading with, “Hello, my name’s xxxx,” I’ve had better leads leaving my name for the end of the conversation. For instance, “I’ve really enjoyed talking to you. I have one last question: my name’s xxx. What’s yours?”.
By exchanging names at the end of a conversation, you increase the chance of both parties remembering them. Not just that, the discussion “ender” above is ensured to get a smile, and it presents an opportunity to ask for contact information: “I had a great time getting to know you, *name*. Would you mind if we linked on LinkedIn and continued this conversation at a later date?”.

Pulling All Of It Together.
Networking events can be awful. But if you think of them as a chance to forge new relationships, you can grow to enjoy them! The bottom line is that, like anything else in life, you have to find your groove.
Remember, Your career builds one relationship at a time, not from one job to the next

ASMR & Marketing

ASMR stands for autonomous sensory meridian response.
This experience is identified by a pleasurable tingling feeling that begins with the scalp and approaches the neck and spine.
A research study found that 75 per cent of individuals felt a satisfying tingling feeling when they heard individuals whispering. Some 64 per cent felt the same sensation when they heard “crisp or crinkling sounds,” such as fingernails tapping on a metal table.
Influencers and brand names have used ASMR to develop videos that set off stimuli from their viewers. YouTube reported that relaxation videos– consisting of ASMR– have increased by 70 per cent.
And they’ve been trending, too.
A video of an influencer making kissing and mouth sounds got 16 million views. Another video featuring a woman eating corndogs covered in tacky mozzarella got 800,000 views in the space of 24 hours.
If you have not heard of ASMR till now, it’s time to join the club. A lot of brands have produced their own ASMR ads to attract clients. Here are some examples:

1. IKEA: Oddly IKEA Campaign
How do you motivate millennials to buy bed linen and cushion covers? A product that has been around for many years does not seem that interesting.
A lot of brands work together with ASMR influencers, however, IKEA did extensive research study to develop their own videos.
This video features a woman running her hands over the sheets, smoothing them out or gently scratching the surface. As audiences listen, they can hear soft and calming noises that prove how relaxing it is to lie on their duvets and cushions.

Since duvets and cushions are utilized for relaxation, they triggered the exact same feeling in their advertisement.
” A series like this is very much in keeping with the Ikea character,” said Ogilvy’s innovative director Della Mathew and Ikea external interactions specialist Kerri Homsher in an e-mail to Adweek. “Plus, the format of ASMR videos allows you to provide product advantages in an enjoyable, relaxing way, something a TELEVISION area or print ad doesn’t always be successful at. We hope this demonstrates to everyone who enjoys that Ikea has solutions that make your homework much better. But actually, we hope it does what it’s supposed to do: aid everybody who views it relax a little.”
2. Michelob ULTRA Pure Gold Super Bowl 2019
The Michelob ULTRA Pure Gold Super Bowl 2019 project is an engaging example of ASMR in action. The advertisement features starlet Zoe Kravitz, daughter of Lisa Bonet and Lenny Kravitz.

In the video, Zoe lets viewers experience the feeling of consuming a bottle of Michelob beer. She clinks the bottle, swirls it atop the table and twists the cap.
It’s a basic act that feels far more intriguing with making use of autonomous sensory strategies. Viewers can hear and feel precisely what it’s like to pour a glass of beer and await the frothy foam to form.
3. Lush Cosmetics
Lush Cosmetics teamed up with influencer ASMR Darling– Taylor Darling– to produce an advertisement about their extremely soothing lavender-infused items.
Lush Cosmetics’ popular items assist consumers get a great night’s sleep.
We might never ever take notice of the sounds of our skincare routine, however the video lets us recall the experience through the noises of using their items. The relaxing sensation of whispered product info, nails tapping at bath balls and the fizz of water– make the skin care routine come to life.

The video has had 1.5 million views on Youtube alone, which is pretty good considering that it utilized very little cinematography and almost no storyline.
4. Lynx Shower & Shave Foam
How do you teach guys to shave various parts of their body? Lynx published ASMR tutorial videos about shaving legs, chests, and scrotums.
You heard that right, they submitted an ad about shaving balls.
In the 4-minute video, a naked male whispers directions in the shower. Because viewers do not want to see the real thing, he lathered a coconut with shaving cream to imitate the sound of shaving.

The video is amusing, however there are also useful pointers for men doing it for the first time.
Gregg Clampffer, imaginative director at 72andSunny Amsterdam, stated in an interview with Adweek. “When it concerns masculinity, we ‘d rather provide men a laugh than a lecture. Which is not to state there is not a message. We are trying to favorably depict a confident, rather normal person who is willing to share ideas on shaving different parts of his body. Not since he has a fantastic body, but due to the fact that he believes other typical people may enjoy the enjoyment of great shaving foam and the body smoothness that features it.”
And it doesn’t stop there.
Lynx also launched tutorials on shaving the chest and leg area for those who wish to be smooth on all parts of their body.

Will you be trying ASMR?
ASMR has increased in popularity over the last few months.
Not just can they trigger a sensory response, however, they’re simple to make too. You do not require astonishing cinematography, colour correction, and unique training. Just have a little bit of creativity plus shooting and modifying abilities.
Any brand can make their own ASMR videos as long as they’re offering a concrete product. Will you be picking up on the ASMR fad?

Event Podcast Recommendations

At One Park Crescent, we are podcast junkies.

Whether you’re driving to an event, cleaning the dishes or stuck in traffic, podcasts are a great method to keep up-to-date with the latest trends and happenings in the event industry.

So, which are the very best events planning podcasts to listen to and gain from?

PlannersPod
From event preparation and marketing ideas to employing talent, PlannersPod hosts, Toby Goodman and James Eager, attract fascinating visitors from all across the events planning spectrum, consisting of wedding event planners, conference professionals, event speakers, and catering services.

Event CEO
Event CEO concentrates on service technique, innovation and event technology and is a podcast for CEOs and Event Executives who are aiming to optimize their event ROI. Rebecca Linder, Founder and CEO of Linder Global Events, acts as your host, sharing insights from her 20 years in service and curating discussions with c-suite leaders from leading corporations, non-profits and event companies.

SavvyEvent Podcast
Whether you wish to learn event preparation or enhance your event knowledge, the Savvy Event Podcast. Your host, Tom Crowl, welcomes unbelievable events experts to provide insights, ideas and case studies.

Turn of Events
A Social Tables podcast about events and individuals that make them happen. You’ll discover everything from how to get the very best event image to ‘Hustle in Hospitality’.

Social Network Marketing Podcast
The podcast for company owner who needs to know what works on social networks. Whether you’re trying to find extensive specialist guidance or wish to keep up with social media news, you’ll find the knowledge you need to make your events grow.

TechsyTalk Unscripted
Liz King is popular in the event industry for her competence in event innovation. In her event planning podcasts Liz takes you behind the velvet rope of the events market to participate in some candid conversations.

Meetings Podcast
For our meeting coordinators, Meetings Podcast is the longest-running podcast for event organizers, conference organizers and conference organizers. It’s a great source for info and interviews in the meetings and events industry.

Wedding Planning Podcast
Combining her love of red wine and wedding events, Kara has prepared over 2,000 weddings so she has actually seen it all.
She offers an extraordinary quantity of understanding about wedding and event planning with down-to-earth guidance. It’s the ideal podcast for engaged couples planning their wedding and wedding planners alike!

EventIcons
Discussing subjects like security, the very best destination, utilizing customer gifts to close more business, and improving your attendee experience, the EventIcons podcast is weekly with the greatest names in the market. This is the perfect preparation podcast for event planners, event producers, meeting planners, or those who just love events.

Event Industry News
Event Industry News provides the current news, views and evaluations of the events market and their podcast is listened to by event planners and managers, event promoters, production business, and occasion providers.

Once you’ve had a chance to listen, let us know what you think.

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