Let me admit that I am not, by nature, a networker. I’d much rather hang back and appear engrossed in reading the side of a soda can than mix it up with people I met two minutes ago. It’s not that I’m a shy person, but let’s face it, how many people feel at ease upon entering a room full of strangers?
I’ve found that when I focus on the person and not the task of networking, I can get past most of, if not all, my trepidation. It helps to go into it with a few simple strategies.
Here are my survival tips for folks that don’t absolutely love networking:
When I focus on getting to know people, rather than networking per se, I leave an event having made a couple of new friends. I learn something unexpected and pick up fresh ideas and perspectives. At events, it’s human connections that bring the experience together. They deepen my understanding of our state’s fantastic nonprofit sector and expand my own thinking and world view. It’s infinitely better than anything I could learn from reading the side of my soda can!
Joye Hodges is conference & events manager at the N.C. Center forNonprofits and has been part of the staff team for more than four years.