How to Meet People As An Introvert

Katie Corbett holds the book "The Introvert Entrepreneur"

By Katie Corbett

 

As an introvert, I have to go out of my way to meet new people. I’m less likely to talk with random strangers when in line at a grocery store, or in a waiting room before a dentist appointment.

 

When I read “The Introvert Entrepreneur,” by Beth Buelow, I valued that the author emphasized playing to your strengths. Here are some ways I have worked with my introversion and still meet new people.

 

  • I go to events that have a purpose, so that I will have something in common with everyone there.
  • I prepare ice-breaker questions I could ask when conversation slows down.
  • I ask lots of questions in general to keep the conversation focused on the other person.
  • If conversation goes well, I find another way to stay connected by swapping contact information.
  • I set goals to have a conversation with a certain number of people at an event.
  • I tell myself that after a certain amount of time at the event, I can leave.
  • Depending on how loud the event is, I might find a quiet space or corner to recharge.
  • If I know the host or can see the guest list, I look on it for people I already know.
  • I only attend a set number of networking events per month.
  • I make sure to grab a drink or snack right when I arrive so that I can take in the room without feeling the need to socialize right away.

 

By following these guidelines, I have made networking and meeting new people fun and manageable for myself. At every party, meeting, or networking event I attend, I almost always come away having deepened a friendship or having met someone new.

 

Do you plan to try one of these ideas the next time you are invited to an event? I’d love to hear how it goes for you, so feel free to leave a comment.

 

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Why I love Networking with Other Writers

Katie Corbett holds the book "Free Marketing"

By Katie Corbett

 

I’ve been networking for a long time now, and even more so during the COVID-19 quarantine. I know of networking groups that only let one person in from each niche. One photographer, one baker, one hair stylist. While the idea of limiting competition makes sense in theory, I think it’s better to trust that the opportunities you need will come to you.

 

In the book, “Free Marketing,” by Jim Cockrum, it is suggested to eagerly send customers to your competition. This could go for job hunting as well, if you know someone who might better fill the position. Here are some benefits that could arise through adopting an abundance mindset and networking with people who do the same work as you:

 

  • You will be able to swap tips with others in your industry
  • You will be able to stick with doing what you do best
  • You will develop a reputation as someone who helps others
  • You might have someone you helped do a favor for you, or refer business to you in the future
  • You will be operating from a mindset of abundance, which will help others perceive you as a positive person

 

I love networking with other writers and coaches. Throughout the conversation, I learn about new tips and techniques I can apply to my own business, and am building a relationship with someone to whom I can refer business when I get a project request I’m not the best person to fill or if I’m feeling swamped.

 

The next time you have the chance to network with someone in your field, give it a try. It might be a great way to relax and talk shop with someone who understands your world of work.

 

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Never be a Wallflower Again: Eavesdrop In

Katie Corbett holds the book "How to Talk to Anyone"

By Katie Corbett

 

When you are in a room with a lot of people, (virtually or otherwise), it can be hard to start a conversation. If you don’t know anyone that well and can’t think of anything to say to get the conversation going, the technique I’m blogging about today might help.

 

In her book, “How to Talk to Anyone,” Leil Lowndes discusses a technique she calls “Eavesdrop In”. I was thrilled to see this idea listed, because I have been doing this since middle school. Basically, you just listen to the conversations of those around you and join one that seems interesting.

 

As a person who is totally blind, I can’t start a conversation with a compliment about someone’s hairstyle or clothing. I can’t look around a room to see who is there, and reading nametags is completely out of the question. I can listen to the conversations around me, however.

 

In fifth grade, I joined a choir with kids from schools all around my city. I had no problem making friends because I was super outgoing and found it easy to talk to people. Middle school hit and I became a very shy, awkward person. The Eavesdrop In technique was something I used in order to avoid falling into obscurity. I joined conversations about what we had all eaten for dinner that night, what books we were currently reading, where our families would be going on vacation next. Even though I didn’t make any lasting friendships, this tactic ensured I didn’t spend the entire night sitting by myself.

 

I have come back to this method again and again. If I am in settings where I don’t know anyone, I find it helpful to focus on what those around me are talking about. It helps me push back any lingering panic about what others might be thinking of me and avoid being a wallflower.

 

Next time you are at a gathering where you don’t know anyone, or even if you are unsure of what to say, I highly recommend you try this conversational tip. At the very least, you will spend time talking with others and might have some interesting conversations.

 

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Want to Learn Who Will be at the Next Gathering You Attend? Ask the Host

Katie Corbett holds the book "How to Talk to Anyone"

By Katie Corbett

 

If you are heading to a party or gathering, virtually or otherwise, you might wonder who else will be there. One way to find out is to show up and work the room. There is an easier way.

 

In the book, “How to Talk to Anyone”, Leil Lowndes recommends asking the host of the gathering. This will help you:

 

  • Learn who will be there in advance.
  • Work out logistical details, such as transportation, the bringing of food and other arrangements.
  • Get a handle on the names of new people and learn some details about each of them before you meet them.
  • Plan whom you would like to speak to in advance.
  • Know who you would like to follow up with afterward in the event you don’t connect at the gathering.

 

When I was single, I was going to a party thrown by one of my friends. I was interested in finding out who else would be there, so I asked her. She told me about another single person who planned to attend and offered to introduce us. We didn’t end up going on a date, but we had a pleasant conversation. Best of all, I didn’t have to waste time wondering if he was single and looking, or just without his significant other that night.

 

Before you attend your next function, either social or professional, try asking the host who will be there in advance. You might be surprised how much you can benefit from knowing who will be there ahead of time.

 

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The Perfect Conversation-Starter Question: In What Ways do you Spend Your Time?

Katie Corbett holds the book "How to Talk to Anyone"

By Katie Corbett

 

“What do you do?” This question is probably the most commonly asked question at networking events. Replacing it with a more inclusive question will help you seem more interesting, connect with people on a deeper level, and will lead to conversations that are less dull.

 

I recently read, “How to Talk to Anyone,” by Leil Lowndes. In this book, she suggests asking: “How do you spend your time?” Here are some reasons this question is better than the standard “What do you do?”:

 

  • It provides a variety of ways to answer.
  • If someone doesn’t have a job, they will feel grateful that they didn’t have to explain that unless they want to.
  • This question is interesting, because someone could answer it in regards to their hobbies, their work, or anything else they choose to highlight.
  • You will likely learn more about a person through the way they answer this question, because they will be able to talk about what interests them.
  • A conversation can head in an unexpected direction and will be less likely to stall out.

 

I have asked this question during networking calls and learned about someone’s bike repair business, another person’s stargazing hobby, and a third person’s volunteer and charitable work. It is a question that is sure to yield interesting answers. If I were to answer this question, I could either talk about my writing business, the latest fantasy novel I read, or a home improvement project my husband and I are working on together.

 

The next time you are talking to someone new, or even someone you have not spoken with in a long time, ask them how they spend their time. I hope their answers surprise and delight you.

 

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Who do You Need to Know?

Katie Corbett holds the book "The Proximity Principle"

By Katie Corbett

The first piece of the proximity principle involves getting in proximity to the people who can help you achieve your goals. It is said that each person is only six degrees of separation from those who can help them progress. That means that if you don’t immediately know someone who can help, likely someone you know knows that person.

“The Proximity Principle,” by Ken Coleman, encourages readers to ponder who they need to talk to so they can get the help and direction needed. Here’s a list of some of the types of people who might be able to help directly, or at least connect you to those who can.

• Family members.
• Former co-workers.
• Friends.
• Neighbors.
• Acquaintances.
• Fellow members of hobby clubs or sports teams.
• Those within your religious community.
• Former or current teachers and classmates.
• People in networking groups.
• Members of industry associations or clubs.

To get started, make lists of the people in your life who fall into each category. I did this, and was surprised by how many contacts I actually had and could call upon. When I made a list of everyone I could think of, I came up with 1,000 potential contacts. I have met a lot more people since then, so the number today is likely quite a bit higher. I listed ten people per day so it wasn’t too overwhelming.

Next, you will want to reach out to those you think might be able to help you get closer to your goals. When you reach out initially, ask how they are and say you want to catch them up on what you have been doing recently. You will know, throughout the course of the conversation, whether you feel comfortable directly asking for their help. It never hurts to reach out, and at the very least, you will have a nice conversation. If they can do something to help you, they just might.

As with anything, applying this principle will require little action steps taken over time. Good luck, and let me know how it goes. I’d love to read your comments about your progress.

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What is the Proximity Principle, and How Can it Help?

Katie Corbett holds the book "The Proximity Principle"

By Katie Corbett

If you are trying to switch career fields, learn a new skill or move to a new state or country, it can be helpful to talk to those who have gone before you and accomplished what you wish to accomplish. Putting yourself in the places where you can learn and with the people you plan to learn from is taking advantage of a principle known as The Proximity Principle.

I have encountered this principle many times in my life, but didn’t give it much thought until I read “The Proximity Principle,” by Ken Coleman. The book encourages readers to think about what goals they wish to achieve and where they need to be to achieve them. I’ve put together a list of questions to help jump-start your brainstorming so you can decide what to work on next. After you make the decision, you can use the proximity principle to make your dreams happen!

1. When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
2. If money was of no concern, what would you do with your life?
3. If you had all the time you needed, what would your goals be?
4. If you knew you only had one month to live and could spend that month doing any career you chose, what would it be?
5. When you introduce yourself to people, what do you wish you could tell them you do for a living?

Taking a shot at answering questions like these might help you get a start thinking about your plans. I still use questions like this when I’m deciding on my goals for future career and self-improvement goals.

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