5 Networking tips for Introverts | Undutchables

5 Networking tips for Introverts

Whether during your job search or for professional matters, networking can be stressful, even for the most experienced networkers out there. For an introvert, just the word networking can make them want to curl up in a ball and hide. Introverts don’t handle social environments as well as extroverts do and for that reason extroverts tend to excel more when it comes to networking.

Nevertheless, being an introvert is in no way, shape or form a disadvantage nor should people see it as one. It is essentially a different way of doing things, and that is fine too. However, in this very outspoken day and age companies, employers, professionals and hiring managers expect potential candidates to stand out and exude social charisma, forcing an introvert to live in an extrovert’s world. Now to not blur the lines between being an introvert and the stereotype there of. An introvert is not necessarily a person that is shy and socially awkward. The main difference between an introvert and an extrovert is where they get their energy from. For extroverts their source of energy is stimulated when they are outside socializing and having interactions. For introverts they get their energy from being alone.

This does not mean that introverts should completely give up on networking or social gathering all together. As an introvert, you can make networking more enjoyable by following these 5 tips.

  • Manage your energy - Even the idea of being around people drains your energy. And it is not because you are asocial, it’s just biology, you are just wired that way. Make sure to get enough rest before the event. By getting yourself in the right mindset you are already preparing yourself for what is to come
  • Get there early - There is nothing more intimidating than entering a full room where connections and groups have already been formed and with you having to find a place where you’d fit. To avoid this, make sure that you are one of the first people to arrive. This way you get the opportunity to screen the room, find a place you feel your most comfortable in and start making conversation and forming connections with people who walk in.
  • Take baby steps - Usually, as soon as introverts go to these type of events they are already thinking of ways to get out of them. Remember that you do not need to be present for the whole duration of the event. Set a goal for yourself qua time limit, what you would like to accomplish or a skill you would like to work on. When you manage to complete this goal don’t feel ashamed to just leave. If the event is bearable you can always decide to stay longer.
  • Use the Buddy System - You are creating an environment where you are comfortable in. By having someone you know around, you are already more likely to enjoy, or better said survive the event. Do not stay with your buddy the whole time, this defeats the purpose of networking. Keep your buddy as a safety-net, and whenever you are feeling depleted you can use him or her to recharge your energy. Take small steps to network with people you don’t know and build your circle.
  • Put the spotlight on the other person - People like to talk about themselves. This already comes as good news for an introvert. Ask questions about their job and their interests for example, get them to talk about themselves. Find that ‘one thing’ that you both have in common and that would make the conversation flow naturally. Do keep in mind that the conversation will eventually turn back to you, so be ready to answer questions as well.

Remember that this is a learning cycle, so it’s understandable that it might take time before you master your networking skills. Nevertheless, we are sure that if you implement these tips when you are attending a network event, you will be networking like an extrovert before you know it.

You only fail when you stop trying.

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