A few weeks ago, I was at a tech summit for the purpose of meeting like-minded people. I’d only just been advised by my grandfather that one of the biggest assets you could have is your connections. So with my shirt tucked, bow tied, hair groomed, I set out for this event hoping I’d meet useful people I could benefit from knowing.
I came back home feeling completely and utterly fulfilled. But it did NOT go as how I’d expected. As I reached the venue, I was greeted with faces that were already engaged in private conversations. It almost felt like these people had come there with friends they already knew. Standing there, staring at these folks, I began to be crippled by my childhood diffidence. I needed to be moving so I wouldn’t grab unsolicited attention.
After the passing of a painful hour of just picking up books lying on tables and reading them, I was offered a handshake out of nowhere which, in all honesty, startled me making myself look very sheepish. This person then immediately surmised that this was one of my first events.
“So have you been making good use of this event?” asked, the middle-aged person with a well-groomed suit and a characteristic beard.
“Well, yeah I made sure I didn’t miss out on the buffet,” I replied, attempting to use humor to mask just how uncomfortable I was.
The middle-aged man, named Kabeer, was wise enough to see through the mask. But we bonded using our common sense of humor. I, then, proceeded to ask him about his background and about what makes him who he is.
As we got deeper into our conversation, it dawned on me that he seemed to hold on to a pretty well-structured network of people. He talked about getting help from people with things he wasn’t very well versed in. This allowed him to continuously expand his network with resourceful people. “It is always good to know a guy“. Those words became indelible as Kabeer expounded on how every successful entrepreneur makes it a habit to maintain a spider web of connections.
This made me curious; “How can I start networking, Kabeer?” I asked him. His response inspired this article.
Ways to expand your network
Networking works heavily on interaction – human interaction. If you’re an introvert, you should realize that you’re the only one thinking about you as much as you do. So the fear of making silly mistakes must be dispensed with.
And one must also keep in mind that the best way to learn is by doing. Building self-confidence by putting yourself out there is the most foolproof way of emanating charisma. Kabeer’s most unique piece of advice was attending any event – that would house many different kinds of people – as opposed to just networking events.
This was predicated by a psychological study.
He also mentioned that for an introvert like me, going to events or even volunteering at events with a friend could prove to be extremely helpful since this can give you a certain level of confidence in front of others.
Kabeer was fortunate enough to be reached out to by amazingly talented business men like him who wanted to expand their businesses and networks. This allowed him to get to know about people living in different parts of the world with unique skill sets that proved to be helpful in the future. He couldn’t have stressed the importance of social media more. And this works well for introverts as well since it doesn’t take too much of a leap to get started.
Finally, getting in touch with people even if they’re not of immediate use to you is a good habit in the world of entrepreneurship. It will never hurt to know a guy (or girl).
The easiest way to make this world a smaller place is through networking.
Jeremy Webb Blog | Startup Grind https://www.startupgrind.com/blog/i-know-a-guy/