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Networking Tips For The Introvert

Mar 5, 2024 | Business

Networking can be a nerve-wracking experience for anyone, but it’s particularly problematic if you consider yourself to be a serious introvert. If the idea of connecting with someone fills you with fear, whether in-person or on a video call, then it’s understandable that building an effective network seems like a daunting task.

The awkwardness of connecting with people you don’t know is one of the main reasons why so many people avoid networking at all costs. However, the truth is that the wider your professional circle is, the more chance you have of success.

It really is who you know that makes the biggest difference in a lot of circles.

Fortunately, we have some networking tips specially designed for introverts to help.

Set Reasonable Goals

The first step in networking successfully as an introvert is having realistic expectations. Don’t enter a networking event unprepared, but don’t expect to have acquired an army of new friends when you leave either.

Think about what you might be able to reasonably accomplish. If you’re new to the in-person event scene, or just re-emerging from a period of social distancing, it’s wise to start small by swapping contact info with 5 – 10 people who could be potentially beneficial down the line.

Remember, these are just goals, they’re not requirements for your networking experience. If you don’t walk away with the results you wanted, it’s not the end of the world.

Know How to Recharge

Going into any social event as an introvert requires having a plan for how you’re going to recover after the event. Introverts often feel exhausted and overwhelmed after a social event. If that sounds like you, you might need some time alone after the networking experience to unwind.

If you know you’re going to be going to a business event on a Saturday morning, don’t plan for an afternoon with friends on the same day. Give yourself time by yourself, even if that means just chilling out at home or taking the dog for a walk.

Listen More

For introverts, socializing and networking can be a difficult task because it involves connecting with people for prolonged periods of time while acting confident – regardless of one’s true feelings.

However, there are some upsides to being introverted when you’re networking.

For instance, you’ll naturally find yourself wanting to listen more and talk less. With that in mind, try to think of interesting questions and icebreakers so you can keep people talking for as long as possible.

Not only will this allow you to gather some useful information about the people you meet, it will also help to make you more memorable. You’ll come across as thoughtful, insightful, and genuinely interested in the other person.

Get Some Help

Often, the hardest part of networking for an introvert is the initial introduction. If you’re not a particularly confident person, walking up to people you don’t know can feel rude, or even downright impossible.

When those people are at an event, there’s also a higher chance they’ll already be interacting with other people, making it even harder for you to break in and introduce yourself.

A good way to avoid this problem, and make your networking experience less painful overall, is to get some help. Have a friend with a higher level of confidence and an extroverted nature accompany you to major events so they can make the introduction. This makes it easier for you to break into conversations with people.

As an added bonus, having someone you trust with you can also make you feel naturally more confident and less uncomfortable.

Embrace the Awkwardness

Finally, it’s worth noting that even people who don’t consider themselves introverted often describe networking events as weird, uncomfortable, and awkward. With that in mind, don’t panic if the experience doesn’t feel instantly natural.

You can embrace the awkwardness, and even laugh about it with other people if there’s a moment of tension or silence between you. More often than not, this will lead to some excellent bonding moments, and it will help to relieve some of the stress.

You might even track down another introvert by being open with these awkward feelings.

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