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Networking For The Introvert

Networking, when I first started, was a horrific prospect. Although I am far from introverted, the thought of ‘blowing my own trumpet’ was something that was quite alien. I think modesty is a normal character trait for most of us, so going out there and telling people about the great manuscript or idea for a new novel is not something that comes naturally. I remember a close friend telling me some years ago when she read my first piece of writing, there is only one thing wrong with this story. On my asking what it was, she replied, ‘No one knows it exists.’

That gave me the inspiration and drive to get out there and network with like minded people. I have learned a lot along the way that I would like to share with you.  

1. Get up and go – I get really anxious when out of my comfort zone and this has prevented me from stepping out of my comfort zone. I attended a writers' convention many years ago. Walking into the convention was terrifying, but I had to keep reminding myself the reason I was there. I met lots of lovely and interesting people, many were as petrified as me, others were old hands. But the contacts I made were invaluable to me, even to this day. Try to surround yourself with people who are different! By doing this, you will meet hundreds of potential clients and partners. You will not only expand your network, but you will create and sustain life-long friendships! Check out what seminars or events that you can attend in your area so that you can meet other creative doesn’t always have to be about writing; it could be the arts, music, film making.

 2. Use Social Media properly. Don’t you just hate these Twitter and Facebook users who have thousands of friends and followers and have never interacted with any of them. This is so fake and not what social media was intended for. Build relationships with your followers and friends, interact with them. You are a person so act like one, message a few people and show an interest in them by asking them questions about themselves. What do they do? Where do they like to travel? What are their favourite books and movies? In time you will have built a strong group of contacts and friends.

3. Business Cards – Sounds really old fashioned, but having a business card to hand out at events, seminars or other social gatherings shows professionalism, in my opinion. The amount of times I have met people in the industry and they have asked for my contact details. Giving a business card is much better than scribbled messages on a scrap of paper or trying to remember your mobile number. Remember to have your email address on the card and if you have an up to date website, include that on the business card too. It’s all about relaying professionalism.

4. Promote Yourself – Sounds simple, but you would be surprised by how many people do not promote their skills and expertise. If this does not come easily to you, then take time before attending an event and list your achievements. You’ll be surprised what great things you have accomplished. So stop listening to others and start engaging and letting the world know how great you are. You will never be perfect and no one else is either, but if you want to get paid for your creativity then you must share your vision, passion and ideas with others.

5. Fear Can be A Killer – The number of opportunities I have missed by being afraid to ask for help or speak about my abilities with confidence are too many to name. I was the master of procrastination. Until I heard the brilliant speaker Les Brown say, ‘The greatest inventions and wasted opportunities lie in the graveyards.’ It made me realise that there are so many people who go through life never feeling good enough until it is too late to show the world how great they are. Remember, you are here right now and time is precious, so let your voice be heard.

6. Relax – You only have one body and mind so take care of you. Listen to music, go for a long walk, and breathe in that fresh air. Meditation is also fantastic for putting everything into perspective.









Written by Readers’ Favorite Reviewer Lesley Jones