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Anyone else find networking extremely difficult?

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  • Anyone else find networking extremely difficult?

    Are there any introverts out there that struggle to network? I'm just a bit of a home body and not really a fan of going for a drink or going to the pub etc. does anyone have any tips on networking?
    "Eat, Make, Hustle"

    Wisteria Interior


  • #2
    I'm not a big fan of networking. I'll chat to fellow stallholders at fairs etc., but nothing more than that.

    Fortunately, the vast majority of my sales are online and no networking is required.

    LOL no doubt, someone will come along and tell us (me) we're doing it all wrong.
    Carol
    Pop Up Zoo Greetings cards - Raising money for Sands in memory of my precious son Ben Folksy Shop, Facebook Page, You Tube
    Carol's Yummy Bakes - My new business Website, Facebook Page


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    • #3
      I am a member of a women only business group and have arranged our 1st coffee morning next Wednesday. I don't like formal networking where you have to talk for a minute, prefer casual.

      At craft fairs you network by talking to other traders, start small and ask them questions don't make it all about you and your craft. Network with customers, get to know what they are looking for etc. it does get easier but even now I am still reserved.

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      • #4
        I'm glad it's not just me that hates small talk I much prefer networking online, but even that is difficult, especially when people are already quite established. I really want to ask a few designers if I could do an email interview with them for my blog, but it's so daunting when they've got so many sales and my brand & blog is so young.
        "Eat, Make, Hustle"

        Wisteria Interior

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        • #5
          card shark, your floral cakes are amazing!!
          "Eat, Make, Hustle"

          Wisteria Interior

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          • #6
            Just ask them, they can only say no. Most business' will not turn free advertising.

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            • #7
              thanks for the encouragement carol, i might send them over an email.
              "Eat, Make, Hustle"

              Wisteria Interior

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              • #8
                I used to go to a local businesswomen's lunch, I did get some business and some display opportunities through the other businesswomen I met there. That's now finished, but this week I went to a local business breakfast club, made a few useful contacts there. The contacts don't have to be other crafters - I got a commission from a local car repair place and display opportunities from a florist and a village shop.
                Daesul

                http://www.clairemanwani.com
                http://www.folksy.com/shops/clairemanwani
                http://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/ClaireManwaniPottery

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                • #9
                  I have found the same as Daesul networking can be better not with other crafters, on saying that crafters do support each other as they understand why we do what we do

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Caroleecrafts View Post
                    I have found the same as Daesul networking can be better not with other crafters, on saying that crafters do support each other as they understand why we do what we do
                    I do also network with other crafters, at events etc but not usually in any other way. However we get loads of crafters in our shop, all wanting us to display their work (which we can't as no room), so we now have lots of contacts to invite to our Summer Market that we will be running from June.
                    Daesul

                    http://www.clairemanwani.com
                    http://www.folksy.com/shops/clairemanwani
                    http://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/ClaireManwaniPottery

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by WisteriaInterior View Post
                      I really want to ask a few designers if I could do an email interview with them for my blog, but it's so daunting when they've got so many sales and my brand & blog is so young.
                      As Caroleecrafts says they can only say no but many folk love the opportunity to talk about what they do! I like talking to other crafters/stall holders/customers when it's quiet at markets. It's great to be out of the workshop and get different views, free market research or updates on what going on.

                      Less convinced about formal networking. Think you have to shop around for the right event. I found more formal events awful with people desperately doing a hard sell and losing interest as soon as they decide you're not a potential customer. On the other hand we have a regular local event which is more relaxed, usually has someone doing an interesting presentation and I've made some very helpful contacts so it's definitely been worthwhile.
                      June

                      www.ironbridgesoap.co.uk
                      https://twitter.com/IronbridgeSoap

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                      • #12
                        I agree June hate when you all go in, no one talks to you and if you try look down their noses. Grab a cup of coffee then sit in a circle going round each person. You then talk for a minute about yourself (many hardsell). Half way round I have forgotten what the first 10 said and lost the will to live as my brain can take no more, when it gets to my turn go the colour of beetroot and stammer and stutter my way through the minute. At the end all get up and go, or talk in huddles of which I always seem to be on the outside. Get the impression because my work is creative they think I am playing and never interested.

                        Hoping the event I am starting is better as basic introductions and then talk and mingle.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Caroleecrafts View Post
                          Hoping the event I am starting is better as basic introductions and then talk and mingle.
                          Good luck with your event! The one I go to sets out to be friendly, helpful and welcoming to newbies. Cards areleft on a table so if we want to follow up with someone outside then we can. Also there are good short sessions on practical stuff - like how to do an interesting 30 second pitch or starting a video blogs. Gives us all something to talk about over tea and biscuits.
                          June

                          www.ironbridgesoap.co.uk
                          https://twitter.com/IronbridgeSoap

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by WisteriaInterior View Post
                            I'm glad it's not just me that hates small talk I much prefer networking online, but even that is difficult, especially when people are already quite established. I really want to ask a few designers if I could do an email interview with them for my blog, but it's so daunting when they've got so many sales and my brand & blog is so young.
                            Just ask. The worst they can do is ignore you, which I must admit I have been guilty of occasionally (I think I'll reply later, then something else happens and it goes out of my head!).

                            For a while, I did a series of interviews on my blog, and emailed a few people (some of whom I thought might be too "big" for my blog!). Most replied and were pleased to take part; others didn't reply (maybe too busy). Other people starting out then emailed me, too. It's a kind of win-win, you both get a little publicity you wouldn't have got otherwise as they usually send people to look at the interview.

                            I think if you're working online, then networking online makes so much more sense than networking offline - but having said that, you need to do what feels right for you.

                            Good luck x

                            Edited to add: don't dismiss the publicity you might get from some of the "smaller" businesses and people. I got an email off someone setting up a fabric store, and included her in my interview series. She got a bit more publicity from me when she offered me free fabric for a magazine project I was doing. But then she went on The Great British Sewing Bee (it was Lauren Guthrie from the first series and she was so lovely) and I got a massive amount of hits from her name, maybe about a year after the interview on my blog! You just never know!
                            Last edited by wendy; 30-04-2015, 11:04 AM.
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                            • #15
                              We had our first coffee morning yesterday and although only 3 of us, it was really good. We chatted so easily and bounced ideas of each other. One of the ladies is coming to the end of her career and wants to reinvent herself, we were able to find out she loves to organise and maybe her skill set with her career would make her good at organising events for people or crafters, certainly some one I would consider working with. She currently works with visiting foreign nationals, so she is excellent at talking to people without talking down to them and a good listener.

                              Networking can be fun and I enjoyed this far more than other events have attended.

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