Networking for Introverts

Let’s face it—networking is an essential part of our professional lives and it doesn’t care if you’re an extrovert or an introvert. It has the power to help you secure that dream job you’ve been plotting and planning towards and even work your way up the infamous corporate ladder if that’s your style. What I have learned is, when done right, it can allow for deeper relationships to be built, friendships and new introductions to be made that you couldn’t even imagine possible, and numerous opportunities to promote your professional efforts in a less forced way than maybe an interview.

Now, I am the first to admit I need to work on my networking skills. I am an introvert through and through so when it comes to meeting new people and attending organized events, I tend to stay in my own little bubble until I get to know a person on a deeper level. Therefore, it is no surprise that I can sometimes find networking an exhausting task. I know how important it is and how beneficial it is to me, I just can’t seem to make myself talk to people I don’t know sometimes. It can be hard to put yourself out there in a situation you are not comfortable in; I totally get it! So I decided to break down networking in four simple points to combat my introverted self and hopefully so you can as well the next time you RSVP to that cocktail meet and greet.

Be intentional. This might be my favorite one of all, so I am going to list it first. Networking relies on conversations, and people can tell when you are being fake. Intentional conversations are so much more meaningful and memorable, but you have to push yourself to make those connections with people!

Do your homework. When you are planning on networking with, say, the head of the company you want to work for, you need to know who you’re talking to. Google them, research their work history and find how they made it to where they are today so you throw that in the conversation a little (but not too much.)

Talk to people. This is the one I struggle with the most, and you probably do too. If I am attending an event or something, I am most likely to say and do nothing, eating my food in silence. I know it is easier said than done, but push yourself to have one conversation with someone, and then it will slowly become easier to talk to the people you really need to.

Maintain the relationship. Woo-hoo! You’ve done the brunt of the work, you have talked to someone and secured a little more of a network. Now comes the hard part. Continue to stay in touch with the people you have been networking with. Create a cohesive list and make sure that you update them on what you are doing and ask how they can help you along the way.

Something I love about the coworking industry is that everyday is a built-in networking event if you let it. You work around people in different industries and are able to build a network bigger than you could do alone. You don’t always have to go out to an event to grow your network—you can find it right where you are.

I know that networking can be a daunting task, especially when you are more on the shy side like me. But if we look at it as a way to build connections and relationships rather than a means to an end, it becomes easier each and every time. Good luck, my friend!

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