As an introvert, I feel like what I have always known as networking is something that is literally against my nature. Walking into a room full of people I have never met before sounds like something I would tell myself I wouldn’t be good at, but honestly after hearing Rob Cullen’s lecture, I feel more reassured that introverts like me actually can successfully network.
Walking into these types of social settings always gives me some anxiety leading up to the point, but most of all, I always dread the initial approach. What do I even say? How do enter a conversation without feeling like I awkwardly interrupted it? Rob Cullen’s explanations on closed versus open groups and which one to approach definitely eases some of my anxiety. After the initial approach, I always feel a little more reassured because I find It fairly easy to be personable and listen to other people closely, especially in more one on one settings. This is why when Rob Cullen advised us to not immediately jump into talking about business and instead ask other networkers personal questions like “Where are you going on holiday this summer?” or “What’s your favorite sports team?”, I felt more confident in my “networking” abilities.
Talking on a more personable and less business approach is a way that Ireland differs from the United States. Ireland is not only more of a high context culture, but it is also more relationship based. Getting to know and trusting the person you are doing business with is more important than what they do and who they are. Once you feel like you’ve developed a trusting relationship with someone at a networking event, then you can follow up with them for another appointment to discuss more business-related matters.