Networking Secrets from an Ex-Wallflower™

I just led a networking workshop with this same title the other day and wow, the room was packed with eager folks. I had to turn some people away!

Clearly there’s a big unmet need for help with networking, especially among introverts who often say they feel like they have to put on an extrovert mask to network. Not true!

In the workshop, I focused on helping introverts bring their authentic selves to networking so they can have more fun, ease, and success with it. No extrovert mask required.

I saw lots of aha moments as the participants learned what networking is and isn’t and how it can work for them. I’ll let you in on some of the key lessons in the workshop.

Take-Home Lessons

The best way to capture some of the workshop lessons is to quote some of the participants on what they gained from workshop.  (Quoted with permission.)

  1. “It is helpful understanding what networking is. I do like a lot of networking activities and will focus on those.” ~Kim
  2. “I don’t have to be someone I’m not. I can work with who I am.” ~Anonymous
  3. “Find networking opportunities among the things you already enjoy.” ~Anonymous
  4. “Oh right, do what I already enjoy! Duh. I’m going to host a lunch for ladies I like.” ~Lisa
  5. “I’m already networking. I just didn’t realize it!” ~Victoria
  6. “Networking does not = pain and suffering!” ~Mary
  7. “Don’t be pushy. It doesn’t work — what a relief!” ~Anonymous
  8. “One secret to networking is starting in your comfort zone.” ~Christopher
  9. “Networking is just making new friends.” ~Anonymous
  10. “Having lunch with friends is networking!” ~Lori
  11. “I need to articulate why I love what I do in my opening.” ~Carol

Oh, it was so fun reading what everyone learned. This was my first workshop on this topic and the participants made it fun because they got so engaged in it. I think they surprised themselves for how much they joined in.

Leading the Workshop Was a Form of Networking for Me.

In my case, leading this workshop makes a good example of applying the principles of effective and easy networking. Instead of following the typical advice to attend networking events, I thought about other ways I could meet kindred spirits while doing something I love, that comes easily to me.

Since I enjoy teaching, leading a workshop fits the bill. And since I’m passionate about this topic, I knew I’d have the energy to see it through. And I knew it meant that getting to know new people would go much better when my heart and energy were on board.

In the end, it was fun and relatively easy, and I did gain new email subscribers, some publicity, and some coaching clients as a result of the workshop.

I’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas in the comments section below. Thanks!

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  • Kim

    Thank you, Val, for a great workshop. I started reading The Introvert Advantage today. I can't put it down. Making me much more confident about myself, and is filled with suggestions on how to handle very real situations.

    • Fantastic Kim! You sure move fast on buying and starting a new book! I'm impressed. I LOVE hearing about the boost in confidence. Yea!

  • Val, I enjoyed your workshop very much. It reminded me to implement a technique that I discovered back in my days as a biology researcher. If you have any kind of problem or challenge, it's enormously helpful to tell people about it, because solutions might be right in your backyard – that is, in the network that you already have such as friends, family, co-workers and colleagues. And the more enthusiastic you are about it, the more people want to help! For example, the same interesting challenge I mentioned in your workshop? I told a friend about it and she suggested two possibilities I had not thought of that I'm currently pursuing, and they are full of promise.

    Life is grand!

    Thanks again Val – you are a great resource.

    • Oh, what a great tip! Thanks for sharing those specifics and that recent story of how it's helping you specifically.

      Start in your own backyard. How often we forget.

      Love your website and the voice samples are amazing. Couldn't resist tweeting about it.

  • Cool idea. I have a ton of secrets, mostly gained from 1) being a social introvert, and 2) experimenting and making every mistake in the book.