Networking isn’t easy on anyone, but, it’s even harder on introverts who love to retrieve into their little corner whenever they get a chance to. But in an age where networking is all the buzz and putting your brand out there is a neccessity if it is to grow, how then do you strike a balance between just wanting to stay home, snuggling up with your pillow all weekend long and getting dressed up to go to an event an interacting with other human beings?
Here are some tips to help you:
1) Use your listening skills
Listening is probably one of the most underrated skills there is today. There’s a misjudgement that communicating is all about speaking but this is far from the truth. People enjoy speaking to people that are actually listening to what they are saying. Whilst everyone else is falling over themselves to speak, staying silent and listening to the conversations means that you are able to gage things that those speaking aren’t. If you are then able to say something perspective and thought-out, this is definitely likely to make people want to get to know you further.
2) Buddy up with an extrovert
I’ve heard it said that if you are looking for a business partner you should look for someone who is the opposite of yourself. This can also apply to networking. Whilst your extroverted buddy may be great at starting conversations, they might not be so good at speaking to someone more in-depth. So working together can be great in this situation. Allow your extroverted friend to make the introduction, and then allow them to leave whilst you progress the conversation.
3) Don’t be afraid to be genuine
As I said before, everyone can find networking hard at times. It can be awkward. Showing discomfort or admitting to this, is a lot better than trying to do your best Jennifer Lawrence impression.
This doesn’t have to be done in a gloomy way at all. You could be speaking to someone and say something like, “I find it so difficult to speak to so many people at once, would you like to grab a coffee at some stage so we can speak properly?”. They will more than likely respect your honesty, and view you as a genuine person.
4) See it as a long-term game
Networking is often about building long-term relationships, and first impressions really aren’t everything. If you aren’t the most socially charming but deliver and are skilled at what you do, then people will want to know you.
Don’t be afraid to ask someone you have worked with to introduce you and recommend you to people they may know. If you have proved to them that you are trustworthy and reliable, the odds are they will be more than happy to introduce you to people in their network.
5) Use LinkedIn and other social media
The great news with LinkedIn and other social media is that they provide the perfect platform for introverts to shine. Keep your online profile up to date and highlight anything you have done well or any skills that you have learnt.
A lot of introverts are often extremely talented at expressing themselves in things like writing or photography. Use the internet to showcase your talents.
Any tips on networking?