Here is something I think you all should know about me..I'm what you call an "awkward duck". Especially when i'm in a room full of people that I don't know. Like ya'll its bad..I either stutter and look a tad bit crazy or stand there by myself with the "bitch face" (but I promise I'm so sweet!)
Last week I had the opportunity to attend a great event for bloggers hosted by the NC Blogger Network in Durham,NC! And even though I had my bests (the beautiful ladies from Reversed Silhouettes) and my fav, Anna (from Flawlessly Flawed) with me. I was immediately reminded of how intimidating attending networking events for someone like me can be.
Being a business owner and blogger I've learned that in order to succeed you really can't ignore networking, so here's what I've been doing to face my fears and step out of my comfort zone.
1. Bring a wingman/woman. Like I said before, I brought three lovely ladies with me to the blogger event last week. Bringing someone with you takes the edge and awkwardness out of being in a room full of strangers. Just don't be fully dependent on who you came with, it is a networking event so you kind of have to get out and talk to folks.
2. Go for the person who looks just as nervous as you. 9 times out of 10 you're not the only one who is going through some serious social anxiety. I usually try to spark up convo with the person standing off to themselves.
3. Smile and speak to whoever you make eye contact with. This probably sounds a little awkward but I promise it works! You already have their attention so use that moment to introduce yourself!
4. Just take a deep breath and go for it. Sometimes if all else fails I have to just give myself a little personal pep talk, take a deep breath and go for it before I end up talking myself out of it. I usually start with a simple "Hello, I'm Alisha from The Alisha Nicole" (depending on the event). And pray they take the convo from there! After we begin talking I almost always realize that it wasn't nearly as bad as my mind made it up to be!
And there you have it! My fool proof way of networking as an introvert. I still experience some anxiety when it comes to these types of events but I really try to keep in mind that brain is just making all this up.