Networking events can be frustrating especially if you’re not extroverted.
I’ve had that struggle in the past. I’m not very outgoing. I get my energy from spending time alone. That puts me a little on the side of being introverted.
Part of the struggle I think is also the selfish mentality of always looking to get more out of every situation.
I used to go into networking events thinking that I had to get a client or that I needed to walk away with something in order for it to be a success.
It was only after I learned that there are more takeaways that can lead to positive situations in the long-term that I started appreciating opportunities to meet people.
Here is how you can get more out of your next networking event.
Step 1. Simply Get To Know People
It’s obvious. I wouldn’t write it expect I had to realize it for myself.
The reward in going to events or any kind of get together where you get to meet people is getting to meet new people and getting to know people better.
In life, opportunity often comes from simply meeting new people. You might have a plan for how you think life will work out, but things will happen more often if you put yourself in good situations.
And good situations include getting to meet and getting to know people.
You never know what might come out of it and that’s the exciting part.
Step 2. Ask Questions, Learn
I might do this a little too much, but I think it’s a trait of successful people – ask question. I just started reading How The Mighty Fall by Jim Collins.
There was a little story early in the book about a group of executives from South America wanting to interview top American business execs. Only Sam Walton of Walmart replied.
And he invited them to his house and the visiting execs were surprised with all the questions he asked them. They had come to find information and they did get it, but Sam was also interested in asking questions and listening.
You can learn a lot if you think that everyone in life has something to offer and if you’re willing to learn and always looking for more information.
You never know when it might be helpful.
Step 3. Listen For Subtle Struggles
I found that I would often go to networking events with a goal in mind of getting a client or talking about my service. That rarely, if ever, happened.
Your target audience is very rarely in the buying mood. They’re very rarely at the point where they are ready to buy your service.
They’re more often in the early stages where they don’t know they even have a problem.
But you can find clues to what they’re struggling with and start a relationship that could lead to them becoming a client. Listen to the stories the people you meet tell you. You’ll find clues to what they’re struggling with and the things that are on their mind at the moment.
The more you listen for these clues the more you’ll see patterns and you can build strategies from that insight.
Step 4. You Can Get Clients, Partnerships, Friendships, Etc.
The thing that keeps coming up here is the idea of getting clients from networking events. Yes, that can happen, but more often the take away will not be an immediate client.
And there is more to life than clients.
You could simply make a friend that adds a richness to your life.
Business-related, you could find a partner for a business that maybe you haven’t even thought about yet. You could find someone that could be a mentor to you in a professional sense.
You can get so much more out of meeting people than actually getting a client for your business. Leave your expectations open to all the possibilities and you’ll go home from events feeling much more satisfied.
Step 5. Always Look To Give
Finally, this was the biggest lesson I’ve learned about events and that I’m still learning about life.
Always look to give more than you get.
Think about how I used to go into networking events – always looking to get something out of it. I even slipped and titled the post in that way.
But flip the switch and think about the people you meet. They are looking to get something out of the event.
If you can help them with something they will go home feeling satisfied. And when you are able to give something to someone you are seen as valuable.
When you’re valuable, you will always be in demand.
It’s take this introvert a while to come around on networking events. I still have room to grow and embrace the events, but now I’m going to more and more and getting more out of them. It wasn’t anything that was wrong with the events or with the people. It was all about my approach.
I followed the steps above and it’s completely changed things for me. And I think the same approach can work for you just as it has for me.