Networking is an essential task for independent workers in the gig economy. By meeting people, you can potentially find new clients, land jobs and make meaningful connections. Some people hate talking about themselves, though. That’s why you may want to try these five networking tips. They support you and help you find an effective strategy that fits your personality, strengths, preferences, and needs.
1. Practice Your Elevator Pitch
First impressions matter, so prepare to explain your mission, vision and work in under 30 seconds. Practice this brief intro statement at home until you’re confident enough to share it with strangers. Then, you’re less likely to stutter or stumble when you meet new people, introduce yourself and start conversations. A succinct elevator pitch can also keep you from rambling or going off on a tangent.
2. Carry Business Cards
Offer new contacts a way to get to know you and your work without talking much about yourself. Your business card should include your name, work title, contact information, and link to your website. Be sure your cards feature pleasant colors, easy-to-read font and plenty of white space, too.
3. Be Genuine and True to Yourself when Networking
You’re more likely to be okay talking about yourself when you feel comfortable in your skin and know yourself. Take some time to identify what types of networking events you enjoy and your goals for these outings. Then, you can decide if you’d rather schedule one-on-one coffee, lunch or walk dates instead of pushing yourself to attend big mixers.
Or, plan to focus on starting and engaging in one or two meaningful conversations instead of meeting everyone in the room. A mentor, partner or friend can help you figure out these details. It’s okay to prioritize when you network. Focusing on meaningful connections with greater possibilities can be more beneficial than meeting everyone in the room on a shallow level.
4. Embrace a Focus-Forward View of Yourself
No matter what accomplishments, awards or qualifications you’ve achieved or earned in the past, try focusing on what you can and will do in the future. Get excited about your purpose, your “why,” and your vision for yourself and your business. Looking forward can increase your excitement and help you feel less intimidated or shy as you share your passion with others. It can also help you speak about your wants and how it can be helpful to collaborate with someone new. Talking too much about yourself and your past experiences can leave a negative impression.
5. Know What to Expect
While you can’t predict all the details of who you’ll meet or what will happen during a networking event, you can plan for success. Review the guest list or comments on social posts to discover how many people will be there, which industries and companies they represent, and how long the event will last. Then, decide who you want to meet and what you want to talk about. For example, you may want to connect with other gig workers or meet someone from a particular company. With this knowledge, you can walk in feeling less intimidated and more confident and prepared.
Even if you hate talking about yourself, you can succeed at networking events. Try these networking tips to help you feel more confident, make meaningful connections, and expand your professional skills and circle.
About the Author: Jennifer Turner writes web content for a variety of clients. As a gig worker, she understands the benefits and challenges of the industry, which is why she prioritizes daily self-care. Find her at WriterAccess.