I'm not shy, but I don't really like to initiate 'hey, look at me' moments. That's going to need to change.
Yesterday I went to my local ASTD Chapter meeting to watch a presentation on using simulation software for online training. I'm always interested in different software and how people use it. But the real reason for me for going is to network.
Now that I'm not working, I need to find ways to do some meaningful interactions. I can only be on the computer for so long until my fingers start to bleed and my eyes fall out of my head. Although, this time around I'm keeping much more engaged with Facebook, Twitter, Second Life, webinars and blogs than when I was laid off 4 summers ago.
Anyway, at last night's meeting after I found a seat and unpacked my laptop, I got up and went over to a group of people talking to each other and introduced myself. I know it gets easier the more you do it, but it was still a small hurdle to get over.
The good part is that I wasn't alone in feeling this way. The conversation I interrupted was how they have been coping with being 'in transition'. (That's a nice way of saying "I ain't got no job".) Attending these meetings were their way of networking. Collect a business card, add them to your LinnkedIn profile, move on. They have been collecting contacts like they were baseball cards.
Which is exactly what I've started to do as well.