7 Ways to Make Networking Easier When You are an Introvert
Having a well-established network has become an important part of our personal and professional lives. The act of networking itself whether during a job search or simply to maintain professional connections and grow your network, can be stressful, even for the most outgoing and extroverted type personality. For an introvert, however, the process can be downright paralyzing.
I have done a lot of research that supports the ability of introverts to make networking more enjoyable and successful by translating it into an approach that works with and not against their personality.
Here are 7 ways you can improve your networking capabilities as an introvert.
Stop Comparing Yourself to Extroverts
We have all envisioned ourselves as the life of the party, the center of attention who everyone gravitates towards as we effortlessly recount stories and use our humour to great applause. While it’s okay to be that guy (or girl) you should know that you have many charms to be thankful when you’re an introvert. You have some real superpowers that extraverts don’t.
Find Your Personal Networking Style
Introverts shouldn't try to network like extroverts. Every person needs to find his or her own approach that works with their personality and level of comfort. For example, it can be helpful to attend smaller networking events at first, to reduce the chances of being overwhelmed.
Be the Real You
Don't pretend to be someone you're not. When you're networking, it can help to be up front and honest about how intimidating the process is, and how it's difficult to break the ice with new people. Doing so can actually help you break the ice and forge a connection with whomever you're speaking to.
Take it One Step at a Time
Breaking down networking into several concrete steps can make a nerve-wracking process more manageable and less overwhelming -- don't get caught up thinking, how am I going to do this 50 or 100 times, just take one step and one networking event at a time.
Be Well Prepared
Take some time to determine how you can guide the conversation and plan for specific outcomes. Be ready to talk about who you are, what you have to offer and what kind of help you are seeking. Feeling prepared and ready for any kind of interaction can take a lot of the worry and fear out of the networking process.
Focus on What You Can Offer
No one wants to spend time with someone if they think the only thing you want is something they can't provide. Introverts are great at one-on-one conversations, so take each networking opportunity to develop greater common ground with your connection and believe that you have something to offer everyone you meet.
Find Ways to Demonstrate Your Passion and Skills
Introverts don't often display passion in the ways an extrovert will, so it's important to find alternative ways to express what excites you professionally, as well as what you've accomplished.