Networking Strategies For “Reserved” Executives
Not every executive is comfortable talking to large crowds or the board of directors, and not all are energized by contact with others.
Judy Rosemarin, an executive development coach and president of Sense-Able Strategies Inc., offers tips for turning the introvert inside-out:
“Networking shouldn’t be frenzied, nor is it about ‘begging’ for a job. In fact, networking isn’t really about getting a job. It’s about using shared interests to develop and maintain mutually beneficial relationships,” advises Rosemarin.
“Done right, networking is a lifelong, evolutionary process that you should do frequently, if not daily. It’s as natural as eating and sleeping. Whenever you talk with others and seek their opinions to make an informed decision – even if it’s just to find a good restaurant, movie or electrician – you’re networking.”
Tips offered by Rosemarin for networking include:
- Develop relationships with customers, instead of just trying to make a pitch
- Listen to the customer’s needs
- Use tactics that work for you – writing letters to keep in touch with customers, for instance.
- Connect to your passion, thus reducing networking “jitters”
- Volunteer with professional, community, and other groups to gain visibility and develop relationships. And, accept volunteer jobs that allow you to demonstrate your skills.
- Make good eye contact – if you’re uncomfortable doing so, look just over or between an individual’s eyes. They won’t know you’re not looking right at them.
- Rehearse meetings and sales pitches with trusted friends, or even in front of the dog, to become more comfortable with your presentation.
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