How to network when you’re an introvert

As an introvert the word networking can be rather anxiety inducing. A room of people you don’t know, expectations to look and sound successful with a well polished, slick 60 second elevator pitch on exactly what your business does. Maybe it’s even held in a corporate board room to a strict timetable. All of the above leaves this particular introvert diving back under the duvet and vowing to stick with online networking via social media! After setting up my own (introvert friendly) networking group, CWS Creatives, where you definitely won’t feel under pressure to talk in front of the whole group (phew) I’ve been honing my networking skills and gathering lots of tips and ways to get the most out of networking without feeling the need to take on a whole new extroverted, suit clad persona.

Top tips on networking when you’re an introvert

 

Prepare before you go

Find out about how the networking meeting is run, for example, is it a formal meeting, is it one where you need to have a 60 second pitch prepared, what kind of businesses will be there. I find that knowing more about what to expect helps me mentally prepare.

Go with a friend/colleague

Is there someone there that you already know? Can you pair up with someone and go along to the first event together? It’s always nice knowing there will be someone you can chat to at the start while you gain confidence.

Find a group that suits you

Different events are suited to different styles of business, for example, a business breakfast packed with accountants, solicitors and estate agents may not be the best fit if you run flower arranging workshops. You might want to find a group or meeting that has more complimentary businesses that can open up new clients and provide support.

Do a lot online!

Make those connections virtually before moving into ‘real life’. You can even find events where people you’ve networked with online go along to. Do try and get out from behind your computer though, it’s easy to hide and get out of the habit of meeting ‘in real life’ especially if you work alone.

Think about why you’re going to a meeting

Have some goals or ideas of what you’d like from the meeting before you go. An example of this would be, maybe you’re a online retailer that wants some professional product shots doing or you want some digital marketing help. Keep an eye or ear out for professionals that could help your business. Maybe you are looking for client referrals to build up your wellbeing coaching business, think about complimentary business that might have clients who would be a good fit for you too.

When you’re at an event or meeting remember to breathe

Ok, I’m exaggerating a little here, but you know what I mean. If you’re feeling anxious, take some deep breaths and talk yourself round. You won’t be the only one feeling nervous, why not look out for someone else that seems new or a little nervous, they are most likely desperate for someone to start up a conversation.

Introduce yourself to the person hosting the event

Ask if they can introduce you to someone in a specific area you’re looking for information about or a for a connection in.

Wear something that you feel confident and comfortable in

You want to feel confident when you walk through the doors into a new environment, be sure to wear something that helps with that. Dress for your day rather that the way you think you should. If you wear an outfit that’s new or more formal than you’d usually wear it might make you feel self conscious. On the other hand, a new outfit might bring a new confidence – again it comes down to wearing something that’s ‘you’.

Don’t forget your business cards!

There is no point spending time making valuable connections only to leave with people not being able to easily get in touch with you.

 

 

Most of all, for the sake of your whole well being don’t put yourself through terrible networking events because you feel you *have* to. If a particular style of meeting doesn’t suit you after a couple of trys then move on to another one. 

 

There we have it my top tips for networking as an introvert. 

Have you got any tips to add?

If you’d like to know more about what goes on at the CWS Creatives Meet Up (networking events) then have a read of this – What actually happens at a Coffee Work Sleep Creatives Meet Up?

 

Pin this post to Pinterest for later 😉

 

(photos taken by Liesa Jane Photography at a recent CWS Creatives Meet Up event)

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My Five on a Friday – 16/11/2018

What a busy week! It’s been a good one, but oh boy am I ready for a weekend with very few plans.

You might have noticed that I’m changing things up a little round here and taking some inspo from my friend and fellow blogger Jess Soothill and sharing five things on a Friday. 

 

My first workshop

I ticked off a huge goal for my social media coaching business this week. I hosted my first ever workshop! This one was on Instagram and aimed specifically at indie retailers, makers and small businesses. We started small with 6 spaces and managed to sell out (phew!). The attendees had an hour with me and an hour with photographer Robyn Swain. The main thing we learnt is that we had more content than time! All in all it went swimmingly and I can’t wait to do another one.

 

 

The Back Up Plan

I’ve been meaning to read Alice’s book, The Back Up Plan* since she first announced it and finally I picked up a copy. Alice’s blog, More Than Toast, is one of the first that I read all those years ago, and I’ve been hooked ever since. I’m lucky enough to call Alice a bloggy friend after meeting up a few times in ‘real life’. Now as for her book, I hardly put it down after buying it on Friday evening and then finishing it up on Sunday! Alice shares about the break down of her marriage and how she navigated her way through it with two children under two. It’s not a self help book, but rather a memoir and it will have you feeling inspired by all she’s achieved since.

 

Taking time out

With business stepping up a gear over the last few weeks I was starting to feel rather overwhelmed. After a dropped my girls at school this morning I decided to go for a walk to clear my head. On one hand this made me feel a little anxious as I was acutely aware of the amount I had to get done but I knew deep down that spending half an hour away from my desk would make me more productive. I was right – thankfully! Taking time to clear my head and enjoy some fresh air worked wonders and I got straight on with my to do list as soon as I got home.

 

 

Medals

My littlest girl has joined her sister and started swimming competitively for our local swimming club. She had her first gala at the weekend and managed to come home with a gold and silver in her age category! The look on her little face when she got her medals was priceless.

 

Getting organised

Trying to set up a business and run it successfully while also working around family life is a nigh on impossible task, and this week, as I’ve said, I was starting to real feel it. This led me to get serious about finding anything that would streamline my processes and free up my time to get on with work. I’ve now set up the online booking and calendar system Calendly which means that my coaching clients can book in with the time I have available, cutting down all the back and forth messaging trying to find a date and time that works for both of us. Whoop!

 

So there’s my mini list for the week. 

I’ve really enjoyed the simplicity of writing these posts and hope that you enjoy reading them.

 

So go on, what are your five things?

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My Five On a Friday 9/11/18

I’m changing things up a little round here and taking some inspo from my friend and fellow blogger Jess Soothill and sharing five things on a Friday. 

Harry Potter

My eldest is still as HP obsessed as she ever has been and unsurprisingly most of her birthday presents last week were Harry Potter related. Carrying on the theme I ordered a Harry Potter birthday cake from The Brinscall Baker, and I’m sure you’ll agree it’s pretty awesome! It tasted amazing too, chocolate and caramel, yum! We went with a the Ravenclaw colours as Niamh is certain she’d be sorted into that house. The bespoke topper is by Betsy & Els and finishes it off perfectly.

 

Pinterest

This week I delivered another bespoke Pinterest Power Session this time a two hour session for two local businesses owners, (and fellow CWS Creatives). It was so much fun and I can’t wait to see how they both get on with all the tips they’ve learnt. 

 

Podcasts

Long term readers of this blog will know that I love a good podcast, but you might be surprised to hear that I’ve fallen out of the habit of listening to them. I think I’ve been rather overwhelmed with work so adding another voice telling me things was a step too far! This week, however, I’ve dipped my toe back in. First with The Liturgists and then with Hashtag Authentic. I’ve really enjoyed it and think I’m back in the podcast zone.

 

Feeling like a grown up with a skin care routine!

For those that want to know how I got on with Beauty Pie my products arrived over the weekend and I’ve been using them religiously ever since. To catch up on what Beauty Pie is and what I order pop back and have a read of this. Whether it’s just psychological or not it’s too early to be sure BUT my skin feels so much better. It’s clearer, feels softer and almost plump and dewey rather than patchy. I’m sure the top beauty bloggers are quaking in their boots after that review…!
Take me to Beauty Pie

 

The Good Place

I’m going to put myself out there and say that The Good Place is one of the best things on Netflix. 

 

FYI There are so many awesome Good Place gifs. I literally lost an hour of my life scrolling through them and laughing. This isn’t the best one but most of them had huge spoilers.

 

So there’s my mini list for the week. 

I’ve really enjoyed the simplicity of writing these posts and hope that you enjoy reading them.

 

So go, what are your five things?

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Do I really need Instagram for my small business?

The short answer is yes! If you have your own small business and you’re not on Instagram you are missing out on so many potential sales. If you have a product based business with a target audience of 16-50 years of age you need to click onto the app store and download Instagram asap. If you are one man/woman band you are the best person to showcase your business on Instagram, after all people buy from people. So sharing who you are and what you do via social media helps build rapport, trust and ultimately to sales! Still need convincing? Let me to give you five reasons why Instagram can work for your small business.

1. It’s how customers can find you

Think of Instagram as your virtual store front, it could be the first time someone has ever come across your business. It can communicate who you are, what you sell and how they can buy it, and most importantly why they should buy from you and not someone else.

2. You can generate direct sales via Instagram

If you have an online store that integrates with Facebook you can also integrate it with Instagram and make your images shoppable! That means someone can click an image on your grid and then buy whats on it! This makes the customer journey so much shorter and easier. For further info on how to set this up click here 

3. It’s free!

You don’t always need to spend money on expensive ads whether via social media or in print. You can be your very own marketing team via Insta. If you’re a own person business your time is super precious, I get that, but Insta when done well is worth investing time in. You don’t need to be on there all hours to make it worthwhile. Setting aside time to plan content and to interact with other accounts will all boost your visability.

4. You can speak directly to your customers and target market

One of the best things about Insta and social media in general is that customers can interact with you directly. When you manage your own Instagram and someone direct messages you with a sizing query you can reply straight away. You can build a rapport with potential customers and relationships with loyal customers that will end up being your biggest supporters. I love sharing products I’ve bought from small online stores and tagging in the shop so others can find it. 

5. It’s a great way of getting feedback and finding out what your customers want

Instagram is not just about sharing pretty images of your products. It’s a fantastic way of finding out what your customers want. You can ask questions in the captions. You can chat to them over Instagram Stories and even set up polls. It can inform your future product lines and even help you decide which product to launch and when. 

My top tips for getting started

  • Make sure that it’s clear from your bio what your business is and what you do. Have a direct link to your store/website
  • Mix up your content. Don’t just show product images, make sure there’s lifestyle photos and share about yourself too – afterall people buy from people
  • Think about your overall aesthetic, does your account, ‘grid’ look good?
  • Take the time to interact. Rather than just posting content and running spend some time before and after you post replying to any comments, liking other pictures from accounts you follow. Find and follow complimentary businesses and potential customers. All in all, build a sense of community – Instagram loves that and will show your posts to more of your followers.
  • Try and be consistent with when you post and how often. Don’t post 3 posts one day and then none for the rest of the week. Some people swear by posting at the same time of day each day, or just first thing in the morning or in the evening. Why not think about when your target customer is most likely to be on Instagram.

If you’d like to know more about using Instagram for your business I run Instagram group workshops, and I also create bespoke 1-1 power sessions that can be held face to face over coffee if you live in the Preston area or via video call. Click here for more info on my coaching packages.

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My Five Things on a Friday

I’m changing things up a little round here and taking some inspo from my friend and fellow blogger Jess Soothill and sharing five things on a Friday. Starting from today I’ll endeavor to share a mini list of five things each Friday from that week.

Beauty Pie

Thanks to @mutha.hood on Instagram I’ve been introduced to Beauty Pie, the ‘Netflix of the beauty industry’. You pay a subscription that gives you members prices on premium skincare and beauty products. After moaning about the state of my skin and running out of both moisuriser and cleanser on the same week I thought I’d give it a go. I’ve ordered: 

Super Retinol (+vitamin C) night renewal moisturiser £8.77
Super Healthy Skin™ Daily Moisture Lotion £6.34
Super Eye Energy Peptide – Infusion Cream £7.15

I’ll report back with how I get on with them. FYI I am no beauty blogger so don’t expect a detailed comparitive review!

If you click this referral link you’ll get your first month free and I’ll get free shipping on my next order 😉

Take me to Beauty Pie

 

Birthdays

On Wednesday it was my eldest daughter’s eleventh birthday, yep, she was born on Halloween. She was actually due on the 4th of November but I went into labour the night of the 30th and gave birth in the morning of the 31st. I still remember crying to the midwife about not wanting a Halloween baby after the clock ticked past midnight! 

 

Spotify

I honestly don’t know what I’d do without Spotify, especially when I’m at home on my own in the day working in my office. This week Sampha and Moses Sumney have been on heavy rotation while I’ve been tapping away on my laptop.

 

Yoga

In the summer I started doing yoga every Wednesday night at a local class and I love it. I’ve tried yoga classes a few times before and have done it at home to Yoga by Adriene on Youtube but this is the first time I’ve practiced consistently. I’m really enjoying it and look forward to the class each week, I’m amazed when I think of the improvements from when I started to now. I won’t be doing any advanced poses any time soon though!

 

The Office

I’ve just discovered that the US version of The Office is available to watch on Prime Video. I don’t know how but like with Parks and Recreation, I didn’t see it the first time round so it’s all new to me. What can I say, I’m hooked and I fear for my productivity levels over the coming weeks!

 

So there’s my mini list for the week. Now, I need you to wish me luck, I’ve got a house full of pre-teen girls sleeping over tonight for my eldest’s birthday. I think I’ll need ALL THE COFFEE when Saturday morning rolls around.

 

What are your five things?

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October LittleLoves

The astute among you, (ie all of you!) will notice that this Little Loves post is a few days late, for the first time ever I might add. I blame a busy month.. and thinking that it was next week! 

Without further ado lets get onto the wonderful little things from this month, go on grab a cuppa (or a glass, depending on the time of day..!) and have a read.

 

 

  read 

This month I got my hands on a copy of Normal People by Sally Rooney*

normal people sally rooney

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and will definitely be ordering her debut novel, Conversations With Friends.

 

 

watched

Stacey Dooley Investigates, Fashion’s Dirtiest Secrets

I’ve been conscious of the darker side of the fast fashion industry in relation to the treatment of factory workers but had such little consideration for the environmental impact of it. I’m not just talking about clothes that are worn once and end up in land fill, Stacey highlights the amount of water needed to produce cotton, so much so that a whole sea dried out when its water was diverted to factories. Not to mention the waste being pumped into village water supplies. It’s challenged me, yet again, to be more careful with where I spend my money and what I spend it on.

Watch it here

A list of my absolute favourites from this month 

Netflix – season 2 of Great News. Tina Fey guest starring is genius and take this season up a gear.

TV – Informer, available on iplayer. Lots of people have been talking about The Cry but I actually preferred this BBC drama. It’s gritty, got to love Paddy Constantine, you know it’s going to be a gritty drama if he’s in it!

Films -Big! Remember this late 80s classic? I introduced my girls to this gem of a film with a young Tom Hanks playing a 12 year old boy turned into an adult overnight after making a wish on a fairground arcade game.

Over half term this past week I took my kids to a brand new roller rink in our city and they had an absolute ball. Despite some nervous wobbles and bruised bottoms they ended up skating for nearly three hours! It was so much fun watching them build in skills and confidence and most of all have so much fun.

 

 

 

 

MAde

I am the queen of baking when it comes to short cuts and little cheats. I’d love to be someone that spends hours in the kitchen creating culinary feasts but I’ve faced up to the fact that it’s just not me. For the times I feel like I want to do something a little more hands on in the kitchen I love using ready made dough from The Northern Dough Co. You don’t have to only make pizza with it, oh no, I followed their directions for making dough sticks and we had them with a pot of steaming chilli the other night. So yummy! And a great little cheat.

 

 

I’ve finally got myself a pair of Lucy & Yak dungarees! After months of umming and aahing and generally being indecisive I chose a pair of their ‘The Organic Original’ Corduroy Dungarees in Sailor Blue. I love the company’s commitment to being ethical and environmentally aware, you can read more about that here – Our Ethics.

Being 5ft 3 and a little curvy I bought mine in size M, length 30 and they are such a good fit.

They are the comfiest item of clothing I’ve ever worn and it’s going to be a struggle not reaching for them everyday!

 

 

heard

When my head is busy and I feel overwhelmed I find I gravitate mare to classical music to help me chill out. I actually think that’s a recognisable stage of getting old, don’t you? Next I’ll be saying pop music is just noise…. *cough*

 

 

 

 

and lastly

I wanted to let you know that as of January next year Little Loves will be having a new home and host , Anna-Marie of Mummy Hearts You. Anna Marie has been joining in with and supporting Little Loves for years and I know that she is just the right person to take it on and give the love and time to it that I’ve not been managing to do. I’ll be hosting until the end of the year until Anna-Marie takes the reins for 2019 onwards when it will also revert back to being weekly.

 

 

Have a fantastic week (and month ahead)!

 

 

**********

Fancy joining in?

Just copy the headings and use them as prompts in a blog post then link up below and let me know!

Please only link up your posts that follow this format.



Don’t forget to show some love to the fellow bloggers sharing the little things that they’ve loved this week, by having a read and commenting on their posts too – especially if you’ve linked up a post. Be sure to use the hashtag #littleloves if you’re on twitter so we can all keep an eye out for the posts and promote each others.

(the links marked with a * are affiliate links, for more information on affiliate links then click here)

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What do you do at CWS Creatives Meet Ups?

The Coffee Work Sleep Community was born out of a desire to find Lancashire based businesses and business owners to connect with in a more relaxed and organic way than the traditional networking events in my area currently offer. It wasn’t to rubbish the ones that already exist, I truly believe there is enough room and need for all of us. The business owners that come to our CWS Creatives Meet Ups find a home with us, and the other networking groups attract a different tribe and type of businesses.

Something I often get asked is,

What do you actually do at your CWS Creatives Meet Ups?

We’re not a secret society! I’m happy to share what our events are like! As I’ve said earlier the tone and feel of our meet ups is so different to other events that offer networking opportunities. I’ve worked hard to create a culture that is relaxed and as introvert friendly as possible. There are no elevator pitches, you don’t have to speak in front of the group, in fact if you just want to come and observe and only talk to one person that’s ok too! I want everyone that buys a ticket to feel comfortable when they walk through the door.

Thanks to the room we use at the co-working space, Society1, we have plenty of space to chat. You can walk around the room. You can move around the tables. Or just sit and let people come to you. If it’s your first time then I’m happy to introduce you to another member that I think would be a good connection or if you want you can just go mingle to your hearts content.

Liesa Jane Photography

We usually have two mini slots that will either be someone sharing about their business or running a taster workshop from the front. This very much depends on the speaker or business owner that shares. We can tailor how they present to the group to fit their business. Each Meet Up is a little different from the one before as we grow and develop to meet the needs of our members. I love getting constructive feedback so I can work to make our Meet Ups as beneficial as possible.

We’ve even branched out into hosting Meet Ups that are child friendly so mum’s with little ones and limited child care don’t have to miss out. These are co-hosted with another local business, BabyLoved Family and held every other month.

Robyn Swain Photography

Although we have a Facebook group, you don’t have to be a member of it in order to attend the Meet Ups. Members do get the ticket link first and a discount, so being in the group has it’s benefits! It also helps you to get to know people before you come along. We have name badges to help break the ice and theirs a huge sign in sheet that covers a table where we all write our names and businesses when we arrive. This helps you get to know the types of businesses that are there, if for example you’re looking to connect with a photographer.

Robyn Swain Photography

I can’t even begin to list the amount of collaborations that have started from CWS Creatives, whether it’s joint ventures, products, skill swaps or commissions. Everything that has come out of our group and meet ups has been completely natural, there’s no orchestration, just a load of like minded people looking to work together to help grow sustainable businesses.

I’m fully aware that what we do doesn’t suit everyone, and their business needs but it’s cool because like I said earlier there are plenty of networking groups with a different style that may suit others more. I’m even happy to refer people on to them! I’m not worried about getting my slice of the pie. It’s a big pie. In fact there are infinite pies!

Find out what one of our members, Rebecca, founder of Beau Baby thinks about our Meet Up events.

Whatever style of networking event you’re looking to attend I’ve got some top tips for you

-Take your business cards

-Think about how you want to present your business to people before you go

-Think about what you’re looking for, is it to meet people from a certain industry, to get connections, referrals, clients? Have some sort of loose idea before you go

-Don’t be salesy or pushy. I’d say this is especially true for our meet ups. People buy from people and if you push your agenda onto others your in conversation with them will soon shut down. No one likes to feel they are only being talked to as a potential sale or as a means to an end. 

So there we have it, a little peep into the world of CWS Creatives Meet Ups. If you’d like to know more about Coffee Work Sleep Creatives then send me a message!

Here are our currently scheduled Meet Ups in the Preston, Lancashire area.

Twitter | Facebook | Facebook Group | Instagram

 

Is networking your jam?
Or is it something that you shrink away from?

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