Unlocking the Hidden Power of Connections!

(Snippits from our oh so popular Digital Glue Podcast!)

Let’s be honest with ourselves for a moment … Sometimes the word “networking” conjures images of uncomfortable schmooze-fests, where suit-clad business exec’s work the room, wine glass in hand, feigned interest at the ready. (Even thinking about it gives me anxiety from time-to-time!)

Who would enjoy that?

In today’s episode I’m not talking about mastering the art of conversation through your LinkedIn or Insta DMs. I’m referring to in-person or virtual events such as networking schmooze-fests, TedX events, workshops, masterclasses, and so on.

That being said, the cold hard truth here is that networking is a huge pain in the butt.

Unless you’re an extrovert, then networking is a slice of chocolate cake.

But as an introvert, all the standing around, making awkward small talk while wearing a name tag, trying not to sweat, constantly drying your sticky hands, jumbling over your words while holding a napkin of cheese and crackers, and trying not to spill your liquid courage. Frankly, sometimes it just plain sucks! It’s tiring … It’s draining … It’s an all-around no-way Jose!

But networking and making REAL connections doesn’t have to feel that bad as it’s simply about having conversations with people. Not about small, stuffy rooms where people throw their business cards at you before running off to the next person. It’s about sitting down with someone and chatting.

Having normal, yet REAL human conversations.

Instead of spiraling in the opposite direction and claiming that the art of networking is “dead”, pointless, and outdated, try to redefine the definition to reflect what it truly is: a way to go about solving a problem. Just found your aha! moment, didn’t yah?

Networking should always start with a goal. And having this goal clear and top of mind will then help you formulate a plan. Then once you have your goal and plan laid out, you will then be able to figure out who you need to know to help you achieve it. Plain and simple really.

In reality, no one attains success without the help of others. Even an introvert needs human connection to survive and thrive. And unfortunately, to all you introverted folks out there, this means sometimes placing yourself in uncomfortable situations or trying something you may have never tried before, in order to achieve your dreams and goals.

So, to overcome the dread of networking — moving from terrifying to liberating — all it takes is a little imagination and some simple tips to get you started …

Well, don’t socially stalk them online, but having some talking points will definitely put you at an advantage. And ease the anxiety behind awkward silences.

Just like you would for a presentation, speech, TEDTalk or workshop. This way you know how you’re going to present yourself without sounding robotic. The less “um’s” and “uh’s” the better and awkward pauses the better.

Not only to ease the loneliness but maybe you might know someone they don’t. Or vice versa. Plus, it couldn’t hurt to have someone to talk to during “dead time”, so you don’t look alone and unapproachable.

Introduce yourself. Discuss the talking points you pre-planned. Ask about them then move on to another introduction. This way the conversation will never go stale, and you don’t panic when you run out of things to talk about.

Now isn’t the time to hide your crazy awesome and whacky nerd abilities. Go ahead, toot your own horn a bit by bringing up your accomplishments and future goals to show everyone you have ambition and drive.

A few fun examples could be … set a goal as simple as learning one new thing, meeting two new people, adding three people to your LinkedIn network, or giving your business card to four people.

Networking isn’t merely the exchange of business cards and information with others. It’s about establishing and nurturing long-term, mutually beneficial relationships with the people. You don’t have to join several professional associations and attend every networking event that comes your way in order to be a successful networker. In fact, if you take your eyes off your smartphone for just a second (or altogether) when you’re out in public, you will see that there are plenty networking opportunities all around you every single day.

It’s never too late to invest in your network, thus investing in yourself and your business. The best way to simply improve your skill in this area and go from terrifying to liberating while overcoming networking dread is to put yourself out there. Truthfully, the worst thing you can do is not try at all.

And it all begins with being vulnerable …

And who knows more about this topic than Brene Brown, who shares …

Courage starts by showing up and letting ourselves be seen.

From her ever so famous books, interviews, and TEDTalks, she discusses her research around shame, courage, and vulnerability. Trying to “unravel” the connection. Which is all quite fitting to the dreaded feeling of networking. We may feel shame, perhaps don’t have enough courage, and are utterly terrified to the bones to show our vulnerable side.

Let’s dive into this a bit further.

This is how Brene explain shame, and how it flows into vulnerability …

“The things I can tell you about it: It’s universal; we all have it. The only people who don’t experience shame have no capacity for human empathy or connection. No one wants to talk about it, and the less you talk about it, the more you have it. What underpinned this shame, this “I’m not good enough” — which, we all know that feeling: “I’m not blank enough. I’m not thin enough, rich enough, beautiful enough, smart enough, promoted enough. The thing that underpinned this was excruciating vulnerability. This idea of, in order for connection to happen, we have to allow ourselves to be seen, really seen.”

And Brene continues with this …

“And you know how I feel about vulnerability. I hate vulnerability. And so, I thought, this is my chance to beat it back with my measuring stick. I’m going in, I’m going to figure this stuff out, I’m going to spend a year, I’m going to totally deconstruct shame, I’m going to understand how vulnerability works, and I’m going to outsmart it.” 

So, what Brene learned through her many years in the field of this research, is that we tend to numb vulnerability — this is the world we live in. We live in a vulnerable world. And one of the ways we deal with it is we numb vulnerability. 

And I really do strongly feel that this is where all this networking dread and fear stems from … we’re afraid to let people see who we truly are. We can’t just walk up to someone, introduce ourselves, tell them what we do, how awesomely great our business is, then say, here’s the bad stuff … here’s vulnerability, here’s shame, here’s fear, here’s disappointment. Then move onto the next person — rinse and repeat.

If we did that, we’d look like a crazy person. Word would float around the room, then perhaps even in emails and on social, then our business would really be in trouble. But not because you told the truth and laid yourself all out for everyone to see … the good, the bad, and the ugly … but because people don’t necessarily have the courage to be vulnerable. It’s a foreign concept to most.

After attending way more events than I can even count, I think the best way to get over this fear is to think about what you have to offer. It doesn’t matter if you have a business to promote or a product to sell, you know things that other people don’t. Your knowledge could be valuable to someone else.

If what you’re afraid of is coming across as overly network-y, stop worrying about what you can get out of being there, and start thinking about what you can give. Stop selling and start asking questions. It won’t take long for you to find ways to help people, and your relationships will build naturally from there. Don’t let this fear stop you from building the necessary relationships you need to grow your business and help others. 

Building connections is the key to your success.

So, even if you don’t enjoy putting yourself out there, you can still be good at it. You just need to remind yourself that networking is just providing value. The business cards, the lunches and the evening cocktails are all formalities. If you can share something valuable with every person you meet, you’ll be well on your way to fearlessly building your network, one conversation at a time.


Let the digital “untangling” BEGIN … Just pop in your earbuds and hop onto one of your favourite channels by clicking any of the links below!


You can also find The Digital Glue Podcast HERE on our website, or by subscribing to our YouTube Channel.

Like this blog post?

If you found today’s blog post to be exactly the type of inspiration and know-how you were looking for, we would be very grateful if you would help this post spread
by sharing the
LOVE 💙 with it socially, emailing it to a friend or dropping us a comment with your thoughts. You never know whose life you might change.

Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Share on Linkdin
Share on Pinterest
Picture of Crystal Kordalchuk

Crystal Kordalchuk

Crystal is an artist, a writer, an organizer, a dreamer, a doer, and down-right proud of it NERD!.

Struck with a love for #AllThings creative at a very young age, Crystal dreamed of a life fueled by her passion for creating and bringing the stories and images in her mind into reality.

As she worked toward her dreams, she earned a diploma as a Computer Applications Specialist then another in Graphic Design and from there began to develop her extensive background in multimedia and the arts. She began her worked in the magazine industry as a layout designer and had a succession of design jobs thereafter. It was her role as a graphic/web designer that gave her the first real glimpse of her future. Soon she began a side job as a freelance designer while keeping one foot in the corporate world. A spark was lit! She turned her freelance gig into a full-time business combining design work with her other passion: creating organization from virtual chaos.

Crystal is one of the most organized individuals on the planet. She is by all means a Zen master of her crafts. She excels at helping others become “untangled” and provides her clients with tools to run their businesses smoothly while she takes care of the details behind the scenes. Thus Virtually Untangled was born. A successful business where her work as a top notch creative in graphic and web — with a twist of virtual assistant — married into one amazing place where clients can come with their virtual messes and become magically untangled. Crystal can always make sense of even the most unorganized chaos and offers a virtual detox of order and peace, so her clients can get busy doing the work that they love the most.

Leave a comment