I have a complicated relationship with networking.  Meeting new people and finding possible business connections is exhilarating!  But sometimes the shyness that plagued me as a child consumes my body and I just want to stand alone in a corner.  Thankfully, at most business events, I have enough “networking mojo” to feel happy that I attended.  But at some, I have to give myself a pep talk and gather the courage to introduce myself to strangers.two women shaking hands

I’m grateful to have learned a lesson in the 90s when I was President of the San Diego chapter of American Women in Radio and TV, now called Alliance for Women in Media.  A fellow member showed me her networking technique:  extend your hand and introduce yourself.   It’s as simple as that!  Most strangers will respond in kind and tell you their name.  That then paves the way to start a conversation.

Using that technique has led to some lovely connections recently.  While at the MM&M Media Summit in NYC, after a full day of listening to impressive, impactful speakers, I stayed around for a cocktail reception.  Not knowing anyone, I had to muster up my networking mojo and use that handshake technique I just described.  Hi, I’m Lisa, I said to a young woman who happens to work on the MM&M podcast.  Minutes into our conversation, she invites Digital Editor Jack O’Brien to join us.  Sharing that time together led to my getting invited to be a guest on their podcast.  (Watch my socials as I’ll post the link to the podcast when it gets published soon.)

And then at a Marcomm Meetup, I enjoyed chatting with two creatives from Slice Communications as well as the power team of Rick and Jeff of Baker Sound, where I’ve recorded dozens of voiceovers over the past 15 years or so.  Then I had some one on one time with members of an Ad Club committee who I usually only see in tiny video boxes on Zoom.  All those encounters made me so glad I attended, even though, sure, it would have been easier and more comfortable to stay at home.  There’s power in networking and finding ways to help others.

My point in writing all this is to encourage you to get out there and connect with other humans.  If you feel shy about it, just try saying, “Hi, I’m ______.”  I guarantee, nobody will yell at you or run away from you!

You may just make a new friend or business contact.