Everything you need to know about networking – and were too shy to ask!
Chatting with author Melitta Campbell these days, you’d never describe her as an introvert, she is poised, polished and professional to the core. However, this Swansea-girl-done-good started her career as a shy girl in a senior bank role who needed to learn the art of networking quickly.
Now based in Switzerland and working as a leading women’s business coach, keynote speaker and newly published author, Melitta is educating others on the art of overcoming shyness to succeed in business – advice and support she found sorely lacking when she started out in her marketing and business career.
Melitta’s first book, ‘The Shy Girl’s Guide to Networking’, launched this week on Amazon, shares the skills she learned the hard way and highlights the many qualities that introverts can bring to business networks when supported and coached to develop the skills they need.
“I joined a bank in a senior marketing role and it quickly became apparent that my success literally depended on networking – I had no choice but to learn ‘how to’ network, the right contacts were so important.
“However, as an introvert I was struggling to get started and needed to overcome crippling anxiety – how could I succeed at networking?”
“I started to read the ‘classics’ on how to network, and these days I can vouch for the fact that their tips work – but there was nothing to help give you the confidence to walk into a room full of strangers and start speaking to someone!”
For Melitta, those early days are a painful memory. Now, a popular women’s business coach and accomplished public speaker, having found through trial and error the skills she needed to overcome her shyness and build a successful network of contacts, she recognises her former self as people quietly approach her to thank her after everyone else has left an event. She says:
“I always make time for the quiet people who come over as I am about to leave. I remember how painful it was for me to make that first connection with someone at a network event – and know the courage it took for that person to walk over and speak to me. I leave knowing that if they reached out and spoke to me, I was able to help.”
The Shy Girls Guide uses Melitta’s own experiences to craft a different perspective on networking and coaches introverts through the process at their own pace, helping them develop skills while reflecting on the unique qualities that introverts bring to business networks which are sometimes overlooked by the noisiest members of the room. The ultimate goal, she says, is not to turn everyone into an extrovert, but to recognise that we are all individuals and can all contribute positively to business networks.
Publisher, Author and Network leader Bernie Davies, who met Melitta via the ENTNEST business network, mentored and encouraged Melitta to share what she had learned in a book and worked with her to publish it. Bernie says:
“It’s been a pleasure to work alongside Melitta and an honour to publish her book. Melitta’s book (the first of a series) will not only help introverts improve their networking skills but will remind network leaders that the quiet people in the corner have a story and skills to share too – when we return to offline meetings I will certainly be more mindful of the support they need.”
“Of course, I’m now also looking forward to Melitta’s next release!”
“The inherent traits of an introvert can actually be an advantage when it comes to networking – and there are hacks I teach which can help overcome the self-doubt and crippling fear. Introverts have a unique perspective and valuable insights which the whole network can benefit from, in addition to their business skills and connections.
“Opening up over time, setting your own pace and appreciating and understanding your unique skill set can enable a shy girl like the person I was to know their worth and share their skills and knowledge, which will benefit both them and the network – helping them enjoy a lifetime of new connections.
“The book helps fast-track other introverts through the process – and the fact that I am now a public speaker and women’s business coach is a testament that it’s possible.”