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Alignable – Networking for introverts

I will always let people know that the best way to grow your business or your brand is to network. Networking is the backbone of any business, from small mom and pop local businesses to larger scale corporate operations. There are always networking events for every level of person out there. Small coffee shop meetings every month or large trade shows every year all are huge networking opportunities for those who need it.

Getting Aligned

Locally, I just started using Alignable to see what was going on with local businesses and meetings to network with. It’s pretty straightforward to be honest, it’s a social site that is available to just about any small business or freelance person out there, and they can connect with local businesses and other local freelancers to connect, work with, or even work for. While most of the features there are free, there are some paid pieces that boost your visibility or add in some sort of advertisement element.

Your average LinkedIn feed

Before you start complaining that it’s another LinkedIn, I want to explain that it’s geared toward local and small businesses. While LinkedIn has a lot of small business tools, they are too global. I have tons of people from all over the world on LinkedIn that fill up my feed. They do not help me get local clients, they don’t help me grow. They clutter up everything and make me frustrated.

Introversion, not isolation

As an introvert, I love Networking. Yes, I said it, I love it. I love meeting strangers with like minds and businesses, learning about what they do and how they do it. Being an introvert doesn’t mean I want to be a hermit. Sure, I could be a hermit and live in a cave with just a connection to the internet and still be ok. However, I also love being with people and learning about them as I had said before.

Being introverted isn’t about the isolation, it’s about recharging in isolation. Whenever you are out and about, working with people, meeting new people, selling your business or services, it will deplete your energy bar. Whatever you might be feeling going into the situation, if you’re introverted, that energy will be depleted. By the end of the event, you will have to get to recharging. Meditation, a nap, or even just spending a day alone will be a necessity.

Young female in casual clothes stroking adorable Akita Inu dog while lying together on comfortable sofa during weekend at home
Me after events, but I’m a male, and I have 2 pugs

It’s the opposite for Extroverts. They go into these events either full or empty and will be recharged by the event. They feed off the room and being out and exposed like that.

So, how do you network?

I will break this down very easily. We might be introverts, but even the ones who don’t like public engagement can get behind these.

  1. You’re an expert on you and your business. You don’t have to think hard or bullshit your way through it, you know you!
  2. Engage one on one if possible, if not, find small groups of 3 or 4 people and stand in. It’s not awkward, you’re at a networking event, people are going to talk and want more people to listen (not most of us though). Eventually someone will ask you what you do, it’s inevitable. Check back to point 1.
  3. Don’t dive into 8 hour or multi-day networking events to start. Get a feel, find a local event that goes for 2 or 3 hours, and progress from there. I have done a 2 hour event that completely wiped me because I was talking to everyone. I went to a 10 hour event that I spoke to barely anyone because I was overwhelmed by the sheer volume of people. START SMALL.

That’s it. That’s all it take. Keep a read on your energy and how you feel. If you start to feel drained or overwhelmed, it’s ok to back off! I promise you. You can even leave the event early! Make an excuse of “Hey, I have a meeting I need to get to” or “I have a client call” or “I have to take my dog to the vet”. Anything that can get you out smoothly and quickly. Then you can start recharging.

It’s not hard, but it seems daunting. So, don’t pressure yourself. Don’t beat yourself up. Just get out there and go for it!

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a meeting I need to get to.

white and green Exit sign
And just like that I’m out of here!
Stefan Glazer
Stefan Glazer

Author, Photographer, Artist, Pug Dad, Podcast Host, Teacher, Friend

Articles: 210

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