Don't Fret about Networking ... It's Easier Than You ThinkAug 05, 2022
DARING MEMBER OF THE MONTH: Nancy Chin-Wagner
Each month, we select one of our Impact Tribe members to be our “Daring Member of the Month.”
This month, please join us in celebrating Networking Expert, Nancy Chin-Wagner!
Nancy has been a member of our Impact Tribe for the past year and a half and a member of the Daring Fempreneur community for 10 years! We love the energy, positivity and enthusiasm she brings to each meeting, always showing up with a genuine interest in supporting other members however she can.
In today's interview, Nancy and I discuss how you can make the most of networking, even if you’re an introvert. She discusses how you can:
Protect your energy and thrive as an introvert in networking situations
Overcome some of the most common networking challenges entrepreneurs face, like struggling with imposter syndrome, knowing what to say to break the ice and how to following up without feeling pushy
Make the most of your next networking event and ensure that you’re actually making authentic connections that will move your business forward
Meet Nancy Chin-Wagner
Nancy Chin-Wagner arrived in Boulder, CO in 2003 from New York City. Her parents were immigrants from Southern China arriving through Ellis Island in New York. Nancy is number 6 in the family of 8 children. Five were born in China. Nancy is the first born in the United States, along with her brother and sister.
By 2004 she was involved with the Boulder Chamber as a member and an Ambassador where she served for 16 years. She was networking before she knew she was a networker! Most recently a person told her, “you are a walking, talking, LIVE LinkedIn person in the community!”
In the course of becoming a leader in the community and expanding her personal network, Nancy Chin-Wagner realized the immense power of her connections in advancing causes, careers and relationships. This consists of networking events, speed networking, individual consultation/coaching and her online PowerConnections group, where she helps companies, business professionals, and introverts develop strategies to network and grow their business.
As a speaker she has worked with universities and corporations advising the importance of networking and communication. Nancy’s networking is not only for her community, it is about educating others to be better communicators and networks globally!
Q: How did you get into this line of work?
Nancy didn’t even KNOW she was a networker – and honestly, didn’t even know what networking was! When she first moved to Boulder, CO, she was participating in Arbonne as an effort to meet people and immersing herself into her new community where she didn’t know a single person. Working in the Boulder Chamber allowed her to develop her networking skills by connecting people and helping others meet the people they need to meet to accomplish their goals. One day, when someone told her that she never talked about what she herself does, she realized that she was so involved in connecting others, and that that’s what she truly loved to do. She realized that networking is something that came so natural, and that was just part of who she was.
As a former introvert, Nancy had to push herself to get out of her comfort zone to meet new people, start a new business, and thrive in a new community. This is what gave her the foundation of her philosophy of networking and building authentic relationships, even if you are more introverted. She now helps her community build genuine relationships, share their stories, and make a wider impact.
Q: I’d love to hear your perspective on how introverts can thrive in networking?
Nancy mentions that introverts tend to be incredibly detailed, and they make great project managers. They are gifted in accomplishing tasks. However, when it comes to socializing, they tend to thrive in smaller groups. But what’s really important is the realization that in order to have a successful business, you HAVE to be able to reach out, have a conversation, make connections, and sell your services.
A common misconception about introverts is that we just want to hide away in our rooms by ourselves all day and night. However, when an introvert is truly an expert in their field, they can find comfort and confidence in speaking about what they do.
Q: When it comes to networking, what are some of the biggest challenges you see people facing?
A lot of the time, Nancy notices that most people don’t know how to ask questions or fill a silence beyond asking who you are and what you do. She recommends asking open-ended questions, especially in a small group setting where you can allow others to do most of the talking and share their thoughts and experiences.
Another problem she sees people facing when it comes to networking is staying silent and hoping that someone else will take the initiative to come up and say hello. To combat this, she recommends just putting yourself out there and breaking the ice. What’s really important is paying attention to your energy to make sure you are taking care of yourself. By striking a balance between caring for our own energy by taking a break when we need to, and taking daring action to put ourselves out there in conversation – that’s when you will truly thrive in a networking setting.
Another common challenge is deciding whether or not a connection was made, and wondering if others are going to reach back out to you. Nancy mentions that it’s incredibly important to reach out and try again if you feel the connection could be important. It’s through consistency that we see real results, so don’t be afraid to reach out or approach someone for a second time at a different event.
Q: What are some takeaways that entrepreneurs should remember about networking?
Listening and hearing are two different things. Listening is being present with the person you’re talking to, and really concentrating and focusing on what they’re saying. When you truly listen to someone, you will gain so much insight and wisdom, and may even learn how to overcome something you’re struggling with. Not only that, but truly listening makes the other person feel as though you value the conversation you’re having with them. There are so many distractions everywhere today, and it can sometimes feel like being truly listened to is rare. If you can be present and listen with your full attention, that will help you build a relationship so much faster.
Second, stay in authenticity. Be your true self. It can be SO hard for a lot of people to be their true self because of the belief that nobody will like you, or that you aren’t good enough. Rather than falling into these traps and portraying an untrue picture of yourself, shut out the negative thoughts and focus on what you know and do well. In order to build a real, authentic relationship, you have to be yourself, and know who you are. Nancy recommends starting small and trying to practice authenticity with friends, or in a comfortable setting.
Lastly, Nancy recommends following up with everyone you meet, and to keep it succinct. There’s no need to follow artificially created rules like “wait 48-72 hours” to follow-up – send out a contact email while your conversation is still fresh in your mind! Also, there’s no need to create a brand new, completely customized email for every person you meet. Working off a template, as long as you personalize it, can make this seemingly daunting task so much easier.
Q: What does “daring” mean to you?
Daring, for Nancy, means doing something different, taking a little risk. Step out of your comfort zone and just try something new! Don’t be afraid of hearing “no,” and certainly don’t let that stop you from trying something you want to try. Do something crazy. Do something that you’ll look back on, laugh, and feel so thrilled that you took that chance.
Q: What are you most excited about in your business right now?
Nancy is currently building a new networking group for businesses and entrepreneurs in Las Vegas where she’ll help others build meaningful, authentic connections, and find people who are aligned with them.
She’s also continuing to build her Power Connections group online!
This is a virtual, private group where introverts can practice opening up, putting themselves out there, getting feedback on experiences they’ve had, and learning valuable networking skills. The group meets Tuesday afternoons, and anyone who is interested in joining or learning more is invited to participate twice as a guest, and can email Nancy at [email protected] to get started. To schedule a free consultation if you’re interested in having Nancy’s support for your networking endeavors, you can book a call with her here.
On top of all of this – Nancy has created a completely free PDF full of networking tips that you are welcome to take full advantage of. You can get immediate access to this incredible guide at this link.
If you want to join Nancy and other amazing members in the Impact Tribe, we would love to welcome you! When you join the Impact Tribe, you get access to coaching, courses, resources and community to help you build a stand out brand and market it with ease. Learn more and join us today at this link.