How This Shy WAHM Makes Valuable Contacts At Networking Events

by in Marketing Your Business, WAHM Issues

It's that moment at a conference, trade show or training event when I have to mingle with a room full of people I don't know. It's important for my business that I am ever-expanding my network of contacts, but I don't like breaking the ice.

There I said it. I'm an extrovert (I love being around people!), but I am naturally shy and uncomfortable in open-ended networking events (I prefer to be around people I already know).

Despite the butterflies in my stomach (still happens almost every time), I've learned how to make meaningful connections at these types.

  • Do it afraid. I ignore my ambivalent feelings and start conversations. Sure, they're usually menial at first – about the food, the music, a basic introduction – but I've opened up communication.
  • Ask questions.I'm naturally curious and love to hear people tell their story and talk about their passion. I draw on a set of questions I learned eons ago in a Dale Carnegie training session. Almost always, I can get into a conversation with someone as I ask questions like:
    • What is your name?
    • Where are you from or where do you live?
    • What is your job/how did you get started in your job? How d you like it?
    • What do you do for fun or in your leisure time?
  • Keep it short. Whether it's your answer to someone's question or the overall duration of your conversation – keep it brief. I keep in mind that the other person wants to meet additional people at the event and it'd be beneficial for me to do the same.
  • Follow-up. Not every contact is a potential customer, but every contact is valuable in my professional network. I've found Twitter to be one of the best ways to keep connected to other professionals. Once I know their Twitter handle I can follow them and tweet a quick “great to meet you” note.
Are you naturally comfortable and bold at professional events where you don't know many people? How do you make the most of these opportunities?
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About the Author - Carrie Rocha

Carrie Rocha has been a WAHM since January 2010. She and her Brazilian husband, Marco, have two young girls. In June 2006 the Rocha’s decided to get out of $50,000+ in debt. Two and a half years later they’d reached their goal. Compelled to help others based on what they’d learned, Carrie founded When she’s not online she’s eating chocolate, being a media correspondent on consumer issues, public speaker, or busy writing her soon-to-be-published book Pocket Your Dollars: 6 Attitude Changes That Will Help You Pay Down Debt, Avoid Financial Stress, and Keep More of What You Make (Bethany House, 2013).


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