Question: “Hi Ali, I’m an introvert and find it exhausting to be among other people for long. I’d like to start attending networking events, but need tips on managing energy around other people.”
— Priya Florence Shah, Naaree, Navi Mumbai, India
Ali’s Answer: “Hi Priya! I totally get where you are coming from. Most people would bet I am an extrovert, but I’m actually an introvert. I prefer to be alone a lot or only around close friends. When I am in crowds, it can only be for limited amounts of time. (And leading events is a whole other matter. Each year after my SHINE conference, I would have a breakdown and sleep for days! Luckily I’m getting better and better at managing all the energy.) Here are a few steps I recommend to help you still get out and meet people, while protecting yourself.
1. Be selective at what you say YES to.
You should be doing two types of networking. First, simply to reach your target market. What groups, associations, and organizations do they belong to? What events do they attend where you can find them at? Get involved to attend and even better, sign up for a leadership role, get on their speaking roster, or become a sponsor for better visibility. The second type of networking you want to do is to meet centers of influence (COIs), in your target market. For example, perhaps there is a magazine your target market loyally reads every month. A COI for you would be that magazine’s publisher or editor, who, if you hit it off well, could possibly feature you and your site in their magazine! A few more examples: Someone who has a large number of social media followers who are your target market, someone who produces a TV show your target market watches, or someone who hosts a conference or expo attended by thousands of women who are your target market!
Create a simple plan that commits you to getting out there and getting this done. For example, once a week you’ll attend an event to reach your target market, and twice a month you’ll attend an event to meet COIs or reach out and ask for a connection to meet a COI. Put these on your calendar ahead of time, and stick to your plan!
2. Be selective at HOW you network.
There are many lovely people in the world, but when it comes to our business, you have to be discerning on whom you spend time with to move your enterprise forward. You simply can’t say “yes” to every lunch invitation, every event, every outing. It may take some time to figure out what works for you and what doesn’t, but just stay aware of how you feel in each situation, and if it doesn’t feel right, what you would do differently next time. For some people you meet, a phone call is a fine follow up instead of sharing a meal in person. I for one am not a big fan of lunch meetings. They seem to take up your entire day, at least for me. Since I work at home, meeting someone out requires getting dressed and “done”, and driving in LA traffic! A simple lunch meeting can take several hours away from my work time. So I’m very selective at who I schedule these with.
3. Protect your energy.
My friends who are healers have showed me a few various exercises to help prepare for and protect my energy prior to going into crowds or meetings. My favorite is simply envisioning being protected by a golden ring of light. Can’t explain exactly how it works, but I swear it works! The point is just doing some type of mental ritual or ceremony. You can think of angels protecting you, golden light, Christ energy—whatever works for you and fits your beliefs. I often feel much better at events I do this with. Another comedic girlfriend of mine also calls it putting on your “community condom”, and she literally envisions pulling a giant prophylactic on over her head and body. Hey, we all need protection! In addition to this, make sure you are getting enough rest before and after your events. Makes a huge difference.
I have many more tips on networking, but I hope these can help you start getting out there more! There’s no better way to connect with others than in person, so I’m glad you are considering how to do more networking and have it feel good at the same time.
You’ll also want to make sure you are on my May and June Success Club calls—I’ll be interviewing not one but TWO networking masters. First, Keith Ferrazzi who wrote the New York Times bestselling books Never Eat Alone and Who’s Got Your Back? and then Ivan Misner, who founded Business Networking International! You can learn more and sign up here—my Success Club is only $9.97 a month.”
Love and success,
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