3 Tips To Feel Less Awkward When Networking - Natalie Tolhopf - Business Coach

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3 Tips To Feel Less Awkward When Networking

Ahhh networking! We know that these relationship-building meetups are an important part of our marketing strategy. But what if your inner introvert turns every event into an anxiety-inducing nightmare?! Do you suddenly have another pressing engagement pop up in your calendar?? “Ooooh I’d love to go, but I’ve just remembered I’m blessing the rains in Africa that day. Sorry!”. Hmmm. Well babe, before you run out of other places to be (!), come and check out my 3 tips to feel less awkward when networking!! 

Hey amazing you. I love that you’re joining me here today. And a big shout-out to my amazing assistants, Mandy and Chrissie, for asking me to do an episode on how to network as an introvert!

Like, how do you make your introverted side work for you when networking?? And being the extrovert that I am, this was a very interesting challenge! But fascinatingly for me, I actually grew this big, introverted side of myself after lockdown! Yep, I abandoned my bra and didn’t want to see anybody!!

So, one of the reasons I decided to go on my recent Become Unstoppable book tour (apart from learning to wear underwear again) was to remind myself just how much I love people! And as an extrovert, just being around you gorgeous girls really lights me up. I LOVE being around your energy. And while I’m not an actual expert on being an introvert, I can definitely share these 3 tips that helped me feel less awkward when I got back out there networking! 


Does any of this sound familiar?  

  •  
  • What if nobody talks to me? 
  • What if they DO?? 
  • Everyone’s always so professional. And successful!  
  • My business is so SMALL! 
  • What would I even wear??… I should ask someone… Omggg, I’m SUCH a dick!


Ohhh babe. It really doesn’t have to be this hard. 

Let’s get you sorted!

 

“It’s really exhausting when you are trying to be something you’re not. You’ve set your expectations to be too high, to be the networking queen on the dance floor, and you haven’t even got in the door and got your first drink and you’re already exhausted cos you’re worrying about what everyone’s gonna think!!”

Nat Tolhopf

 

3 Tips To Feel Less Awkward When Networking!

Okay, here are 3 things that helped me overcome my post-lockdown introvert. I’d love to know what tips you’re going to use? Hopefully all of them! Get in touch and let me know!

 

1.Drop Your Expectations.

Just go and have some bloody fun, okay?! Girl, you don’t have to own the networking dance floor. Believe it or not, I can be super awkward at these events, and after the initial “Hello and what do you do?”, I definitely fall into dad jokes and inappropriateness! So do me a favour and drop your expectations, take that pressure off yourself… and just see what happens!!

Recently I stood in as coach for my daughter’s netball game. They’d had an amazing first and second quarter. But I looked at them at half-time and they looked SO serious, like a bunch of bloody zombies!! So I gathered them up and said, “Hey, you guys are winning! Can you actually just go out there and have some fun?? And slap a smile on while you’re at it!”… And they did! And they pulled even further ahead. But best of all, they had FUN doing it!

 

2. Embrace Your Weird! 

You do not have to fit in! If you love to wear different things, wear them! If you love to talk about different things, talk about them! You don’t have to suddenly turn all professional and look and talk a certain way. So embracing your weird also means doing that on a networking level. Just be yourself! Because it’s bloody exhausting trying to be something you’re not! Tell people if you’re feeling a bit awkward or uncomfortable. And if you’re super nervous, grab one of your crew and go and meet people together! Even if it’s just ONE new person. Don’t think you have to go and meet 10 new people at every event and shove your business card in their face!! Noooo. And here’s the thing, if you’re not embracing your weird, you’re actually going to attract the wrong people!!

 

3. Networking Doesn’t Stand Alone – Repel and Attract.

Networking isn’t a stand-alone thing. It’s part of your overall marketing mix – it might be off partying in a funnel somewhere, movin’ and shakin’ with all your other marketing strategies!

So, as an example, your amazing lead magnet may have attracted someone to join your email database (where they’ve been receiving your funny-as emails, like mine lol!), and then they get to meet you in person at a networking event!

So adding networking into your strategy is really powerful because people buy from people – and particularly us Kiwis, we love to meet in person. We want to know that we’re not being fed bullshit! And by embracing your weird and being yourself, sure you might repel some people. But you’ll also be attracting people – the right ones! So you’re going to get in front of more people, make those connections, and literally get front of mind. “Oh I met this awesome chick at a networking event, she’s SO cool in person! Honestly, she’d be perfect to help you with that problem!” Hell yeah baby!!

I went to every biz event I could (joke is I would go to the opening of an envelope!) and often I wouldn’t know anybody. But there are people out there who are awesome at networking, and they’ll notice if you need some help. So groups will stand together and leave this kind of opening (the “croissant effect”) which is an invitation for you to join them – and truly babe, it wouldn’t be weird if you did! 

Right. Step away from the sausage rolls! Go on, off you go!!


Timestamps

(01:50, 06:35) Drop your expectations.

(02:48, 08:00) Embrace your weird! 

(04:55, 09:02) Networking doesn’t stand alone.

At some stage we can ALL experience awkward networking moments! I love networking, but I know it’s not for everyone. So if you’re really not loving it and still don’t want to do it, that’s okay! Just don’t be hard on yourself. 

But! If you’d like some help to lose your awkward and become a networking boss, hit me up! I’m SO enjoying reconnecting in person this year and I’d love for you to join me. 

Come on, let’s get out there!!

Nat xx

 

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