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Four Networking Tips for Introverts

May 9, 2017 in Careers

Networking-tips-for-introverts

Attending a networking event can be intimidating and stressful for most of us. For the less outgoing, the experience can be almost paralyzing or akin to falling into quicksand.

Being an introvert, the struggle of opening up to a group of total strangers can be nerve wracking. Small talk doesn’t come easy and it’s difficult to establish rapport with new people. However, you must be aware that networking is an important career and job search move. It is through contacts and connections that we can bag our dream job or make a career advancement.

While I do agree it is difficult to maintain calm and composure in such a situation, it also important to plan ahead to keep your nerves in control. For the ones like me, here are a few tips to network like a pro.

Don’t Go Solo

Four walls full of strangers can be tough to handle when you are a people-shy person like me. It helps to tag a trusted friend or colleague along to such networking events. Preferably tag along an outgoing individual who can get conversations going and introduce you to others.

If that’s not feasible, look out for someone just like you at the event. Introduce yourself to the girl/guy shying away from the crowds. Start a conversation and slowly branch out to others in the hall. Strive to meet a minimum number of people at the event. This way you won’t feel too intimidated with the whole process of networking.

Do Your Research

Get digging for the details even before the event. If possible get a list of the attendees and introduce yourself via email and ask to connect. Alternatively, browse through their social media feeds to find common points of interest.

Go prepared with a list of questions you seek answers for. Enact possible scenarios with your friend/family beforehand. Use the break time to initiate a one on one conversation with the person you wish to build a connection with.

Get People Talking

Introverts make great listeners, even though they are not great communicators. Networking is more about building relationships than about selling yourself as a product. Initiate a casual conversation then let the other person do all the talking.

Ask a few relevant questions whenever required to keep the conversation flowing. Keep an ear out for conversations that interest you and seek to be a part of it. Ask open ended questions to get the conversation rolling.

Give Yourself an Ultimatum

Set a minimalistic goal for yourself when attending such events. Promise yourself to stay for an hour. Allow yourself time to adjust to the new environment. If attending a conference, take a break and get back to the event once you feel recharged.

The key to growing your network is finding your own technique to branch out. It can be intimidating in the beginning but with time you will get over the initial fear. As they say practice makes it perfect.

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