“But I am an introvert!”, She said defensively when I asked why she hates networking.
She proceeded to tell me of a Sunday encounter after church where she had purposed to try and befriend at least one person as practice for future networking. During mass she had spotted a young lady a seat behind. Linda* practiced in her head like a business pitch, every single word she would utter to the T. After service she approaches the lady.
“Hi”, Linda says as the lady walked towards the church entrance.
“Hi”, she responds.
“I am Linda, we were in church together”, Linda proceeds trying to make a conversation.
“My name is Mary, it is nice meeting you Linda.” She says
“Do you school around here?” Linda asks.
“Yes, I am at the University doing dentistry, you? Mary answers as she engages Linda.
“Yea, I am also at the university, but I also work.” Linda says
“Great!” Mary says but Linda senses some finality in her tone. They walk for a few meters together in a silence so loud it could be tangible.
Linda decides to break the silence and tells Mary that she must wait for someone at the junction and lets her walk away. In her head she kept replaying the entire scenario as though she had an out of body experience. We were in church together?! Really Linda? That’s the best you would come up with? (Face palms) why did I even practice urgh?! Couldn’t you have asked how far she is in school? You have some cavities, couldn’t you have joked about that?
Well, see Linda had all the necessary tools to make the short conversation interesting, after all she is the one who approached Mary. Where did she go wrong, you might be wondering? Maybe Mary was not interested in making new friends. She thinks of herself as an introvert, like Linda hence expected her to put in effort.Linda started off right but maybe she became anxious. What do you do in such a situation? Breathe in compose yourself and find a commonality to chit chat about. Many people come with testimonies about how they bagged a big business deal with someone they met in church. You can meet people literally anywhere and that means networking. It was pleasant to learn that I met with one beautiful lady attending networking training course at a hotel’s washroom area.
Dear reader, you might have related to the story in a way or heard of a similar one experienced by a friend. Like a sport, networking gets better with practice. Linda should not quit after the first fail attempt, I advised. In fact, this awkward situation might play ground for next Sunday’s conversation when they meet. Don’t give up on networking. As I say, “We stop networking only when we sleep”.