A shy girl’s guide to building your career or business by networking

group of diverse people in corporate environment, women in finance

Article by Melitta Campbell

Networking can be a difficult skill to master, especially if you are an introvert. Also with many women working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic some may have simply got out of the habit.

Now as office life starts to return to some normality I’m keen to share my experiences and help introverted female entrepreneurs confidently build and create thriving networks.

When I started networking in earnest nearly 20 years ago, I found it extremely difficult. As an introvert, I felt awkward and out of place, and I struggled to think on my feet.

However, once I built the skills and confidence, and started to experience the many benefits a strong network has to offer, I have come to believe that networking to be one of the most important skills for anyone with ambition to master.

No one has all the knowledge, insights and connections they need to succeed, so your network can play an important role in helping you achieve all your future goals – it can even inspire you to dream bigger and achieve more.

A strong network can help you develop professional goals, a solid pipeline of leads and referrals for your business, recommendations for speaker engagements, as well as greater inspiration and insights to help you achieve more success than you thought possible.

Networking is therefore one of the most powerful ways to build your business or advance your career. However, if done wrong, it can just be a lot of work with very little results. 

Many women avoid networking believing that they aren’t “natural networkers”, and therefore will never be any good at it, much less enjoy it. This was just how I felt when I first started out. But over the years, I fine-tuned my skill set and developed my own VICTORY formula which helped me bust this all too common myth.

This formula can help women embrace their natural abilities as an introvert, grow in confidence and shine while networking. It can help them develop a supportive network which can help underpin their business success.

It’s also something that can be used whether you intend to go to face to face networking events or join online networking which have grown in popularity since the lockdown restrictions. The principles are the same and encourage people to really think about how they make the most of networking opportunities.

The formula maps out a way forward:

  • V is for vision – understand what you really want to achieve in your business, the bigger and brighter your vision, the easier it will be to talk passionately and get over your fear of networking.
  • I is for intention – decide what you want most and where your energy should focus, because ‘where attention goes, energy flows.’
  • C is for courage – undertaking any new venture takes courage but stepping out of your comfort zone and being brave will build your confidence.
  • T is for True – become your best self by understanding your core values – what do you really stand for and care about? This will help you network and meet people as your authentic confident self.
  • O is for Obstacles – create a backup plan for when things don’t go to plan and learn skills like conversation starters and rehearse strategies to manage tricky situations such as not knowing anyone in a room.
  • R is for Rules – Don’t worry about making mistakes, seek out opportunities that scare you and celebrate all your successes.
  • Y is for Yes! You’ve got this! Having the vision, intention, tools, and strategies in place will give you the courage and confidence to turn networking into an enjoyable and successful experience.

Along with using this formula, it’s also important to understand that networking is a three-step process – it’s what you do before and after a networking event that really determine your levels of success. It’s not just a case of showing up with a pocket full of business cards. Below are some top tips for successful networking:

  • Prepare ahead for a networking event whether the event is in person or online.
  • Work out your vision and intention – what do you want to achieve? Also plan what you are going to wear and ensure your profile information is up to date.
  • Rehearse conversation starters and maintainers – this will build confidence.
  • Don’t over think it – approach people in open circles, smile and introduce yourself.
  • Use open questions to get people talking such as, ‘What did you think of the speaker?’ and ‘What is great with you today?
  • Introverts are good listeners so you can play to your natural strengths – good networkers talk just 20% of the time and listen for the rest.
  • Follow up thoughtfully with articles and information that can help people – add value to them.

Finally, it’s important to have fun while networking. People always want to stay in touch with people who they enjoy being around and who make them feel special, so always keep this in mind. Be generous in giving people your time and attention, enjoy the friendships you make, and celebrate your successes and achievements along the road to building a strong network.

About the Author

Melitta CampbellMelitta Campbell is an award-winning business coach and certified mindset coach who is passionate about helping women confidently build and grow a profitable business and that has an impact they feel proud of.

Her expertise comes from 25+ years of experience in communication, marketing, and leadership, including more than a decade of running her own businesses. This allows her to coach her clients on the inner-game of success as much as the practicalities of starting and running a thriving business.

Melitta is also the best-selling author of A Shy Girl’s guide to Networking, international speaker, and host of the Driven Female Entrepreneur podcast.

Originally from Swansea in the UK, she now supports her global client base from her home in Switzerland, where she lives with her husband and two daughters.

A Shy Girl’s Guide to Networking | Melitta Campbell

If you’ve ever wondered how some people network so effortlessly, while you feel awkward and out of place, this book is for you.

Written from a shy girl’s perspective, in this book Melitta Campbell shares the exact steps introverts can take to master the three phases of networking, both online and in person, to build powerful and lasting relationships.

As an introvert herself, getting out into the ‘networksphere’ was always a battle for Melitta until she created her innovative VICTORY Formula. This laid out her own rules of engagement, enabling her to embrace her natural abilities as an introvert, grow in confidence and shine while networking. In learning this formula for yourself, you’ll be able to enjoy the same results.

Melitta’s network has opened exciting new doors and enabled her to grow beyond what she felt possible, leading her to conclude that, ‘networking is the ultimate shortcut to everything you desire in business, and in life’.

If you are ready to achieve the next level of success in your business, A Shy Girl’s Guide to Networking will help you get there.

A Shy Girl's Guide to Networking | Melitta Campbell

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