Networking is an activity or an event carried out to establish a cohesive professional relationship with other relevant parties as a source of information and assistance to further each other’s career development. However, this particular activity is not an easy task and can get quite troublesome for certain types of people especially the introverted ones. Before we proceed with the tips on how to network when you’re an introvert, here are some general tips for building a good network:
1. Getting the right mindset
2. Suitability of the location
3. Prepare an ‘elevator pitch’
4. Ask the right questions
8 Networking Tips for Introverts
Introverts or those that are shy often have trouble communicating well with strangers. Therefore, establishing a professional network can be daunting for people with this kind of personality or possibly might even loathe networking in general.
Nonetheless, networking is crucial for career development and job opportunities. Interview invitations are also sometimes accepted due to the courtesy of close contacts. If the idea of networking makes you anxious, below are 8 tips on how to network when you’re an introvert that can help make the conversation between you and your potential acquaintance going smoothly.
1. Join online networking
One of the most challenging things for introverted personalities is the skill to communicate, and realising the fact that they will need to approach and talk to strangers is enough to make one sweat, anxious and overall uncomfortable.
But rejoice introverts! Living in the current digital era gives you an opportunity to join online networking. The best way is to utilise social media platforms like Twitter or Facebook and join a community that shares the same interest or field as you. Another way is you can sign up for the LinkedIn page if you haven’t, and from there you can as well build a more meaningful professional relationship.
2. Networking privately
Networking activities not necessarily need to be done only with a large crowd. Group communication can be daunting for introverted personalities, thus making networking privately as the perfect alternative. It can help one to brush up their excellent listening skills, thus strengthening the networking session even more.
You can suggest to your potential acquaintance to conduct a private networking session at any cafes or places that you’re comfortable with or just ask for help from your colleagues to set an appointment with someone outside of your existing network bubble.
3. Bring a company
So you have just been invited to a huge event full of strangers. You thought that now is the time to grab the opportunity and network with potential acquaintances but your introverted gut tells you otherwise. Before you decide to bail, you can instead ask the organiser if you can bring along a company with you to the said event as it will help you ease the nervousness. It would be better if your partner is the friendly type and can start a conversation with strangers on your behalf.
4. Don’t forget your old network
It is indeed a great thing that you managed to have new acquaintances from time to time but forgetting your old network is not an option. Always allow yourself to have a bit of time to send emails or texts to your old network just to get an update on how they were doing as well as sharing your current employment status. You can also invite them for a nice quick brunch. You wouldn’t want to keep in touch with them only during hardships now would you?
5. Follow up, follow up, follow up!
Once you acquired potential acquaintances after a meeting, it is always best if you do a follow up with them preferably the day after or early next week, to say the least. Apart from that, it is also best if you can customise your professional email address or your business card content to increase better employabilities. Alternatively, you can do a follow up on LinkedIn as well.
6. Always be ready
When you’re attending an event, small conversations will be your ‘weapon’. You may have an introverted personality but it will not stop you from showing up in your best self. If you have a list of people attending the said event, take this opportunity to list down the names that you wish to network with. After that, do some research on their career background to help spark a conversation between each other later on.
7. Put on a smile
Building a good network is like you trying to converse with a long lost family member during a festive gathering. It’s awkward but you just need to push yourself to try and converse with them. After all, they are a part of your family.
Although introverted, it is always nice to put on a sincere smile and converse a little. It may seem trivial but has a huge impact on establishing a good network. Who could’ve known just from a smile and small conversations can lead to an unexpected opportunity?
8. Be yourself
The last and most important tip on how to network when you’re an introvert is to be yourself during a networking session. It doesn’t matter if you have an introverted personality, you can always highlight qualities such as great listening skills as your strength. It’s better to accept the person that you are than acting like someone you don’t feel comfortable with.
It’s never too late for you to establish a good professional relationship for your own career development despite the circumstances. You only need to put yourself out there, leave the shy personality of yours aside and do your very best!
Good luck in establishing your future networking endeavours fellow introverts! You can do this! Don’t forget to follow Jobstore.com for career information, job opportunities and more.
Nurin Eznieka is a digital content writer who writes about lifestyle, tips and tricks, including career-related contents both in Malay and English languages. Nurin is a foodie who enjoys food hunting and cafe hopping during her free time.
Reach me at: firstname.lastname@example.org