No one in my family would describe me as a shrinking violet. On the contrary, they might say…..let’s not go there. If the truth be told, there have been many occasions in my life when I found myself uncomfortable in unfamiliar surroundings. My reaction could honestly be described as shyness.

During the holiday season, you may find yourself more often among friends and family, and not give much thought to networking opportunities that involve strangers. Nevertheless, whether during the holidays or afterwards, tips on how to overcome any shyness might prove helpful.

Allison Shields at Legal Ease Blog has some excellent suggestions on overcoming shyness  in a networking environment that I want to share:

  • Arrive early – (there will be fewer strangers. The situation will be less intimidating, and it’ll be easier to strike up a conversation with other “earlybirds"),
  • Seek out the host/person in charge – (so you can introduce yourself, explain that you are a first-timer, and ask she/he to introduce you to others),
  • Bring a friend along – (that way you can introduce each other to others. But be very careful, as Allison warns us, not to spend all your time talking with your friend, or you will defeat the purpose for attending the event),
  • Look for other shy people – (they’re easy to spot. They look like you feel, and are usually standing alone. Besides it’s easier than breaking into a group already engrossed in a conversation), and
  • Head for the bar/food table – (my favorite. It provides opportunity to talk one-on-one with the person in front or behind you in either line)

Allison also has ten tips on holiday networking generally that are well worth a read. Thanks to Michelle Golden at Golden Practices for steering me to Allison’s posts, and to Guy Kawaski’s “The Art of Schmoozing.”  

Good stuff all around.

Note: This is an encore post on networking first published on December 11, 2006. Since I will be on a working vacation over the next week with limited access to the Internet, I will be doing encores of previous posts on networking. For those who missed them the first time around, I hope you find them helpful.