At the end of this week, I’ll be going to a job fair. Next week, I’ll be exhibiting at the Harlem Book Fair…Yay? Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy for the opportunity but the idea of talking to people, selling my brand face-to-face, is like walking through a haunted cemetery at night.
This is why I love social media. I write better than I talk. My personality comes out more in my writing. On social media, you’re not supposed to sell stuff to people… at least not all the time. You’re supposed to provide helpful and entertaining content.
But sometimes you need to come from behind that screen and get some face-to-face time.
Just do it
You can agonize over it until you worry yourself into the fetal position. It won’t change anything. You get better at networking by…networking. Yes, there will be some awkward moments, some word stumbling. After awhile, you’ll be surprised at how well you’ve become at small talk. You need to throw yourself out of your comfort zone.
Have your favorite book or movie ready for you when you get home. We introverts need some alone time after all that networking.
I stumble over my words…often, which is why I like to practice what I’m going to say. Before the job fair on Friday, I will have practiced my elevator pitch thousands of times. Before the book fair, I’ll know how I’ll describe my books and brand to, hopefully, get people interested.
You’re talking about your book. Put some passion behind it. You don’t want to come off like you’re reading from something. It helps to practice a few times in front of someone.
Research who’s going to be at the event and prepare some questions beforehand. Before I go to that job fair, I’ll know what companies I want to focus on and what questions I’ll ask them, if given the opportunity.
There are some things you enjoy talking about
Most introverts are quiet until the conversation hits one of our interests. Then we can’t shut up about it. You get to talk about your book. People are generally amazed when they meet a published author. You’ll get questions about your writing process. I love answering those. Don’t think of it as networking. Think of it as showing off your baby. You put months, maybe even years of work into that book. You’re proud of it. Show it off.
Pay attention to people
There is such a thing as too much information. Yes, you have the opportunity to talk about your book but don’t go overboard. Pay attention to who you’re speaking to. You’ll notice when they stop listening. With some practice, you’ll be able to be brief and interesting.
Never underestimate the power of a smile. Most of the time, if you give a person a nice smile, they’ll start the conversation. This takes some practice. I tend to avoid eye-contact. I’m getting better at smiling while looking people in the eye.
I’m usually not the one leading the conversation. I’m listening then asking the other person questions to get them to keep talking.
At author events, I wear something that starts a conversation. My hair is now blue which gets a comment or two. At conferences, I’d wear a nice hat, some bright eye shadow or extra fancy earnings. People will stop to talk about what you’re wearing. The same goes for any posters, banners or books you put up. Have an eye-catching image placed where people can see as they pass your booth/table and they’ll ask you about it.
Try not to be too hard on yourself
I have a tendency to go over every conversation I had during the event and convince myself I did an awful job. I’m getting out of the habit of doing that. Most people who’ve seen me present or interact with others say I do a pretty good job. You aren’t nearly as terrible as you think you are.
Share your tips on how to market as an introvert. Leave a comment.