As promised, I’m writing about networking as an introvert. Don’t worry quiet people, I can feel you cringe away at the thought of networking, being in a room full of people that you don’t know and talking about things you might have no idea about.
First things first, I must confess, I am an introvert. I much prefer to listen and analyse than jump into a conversation with my arms flaring. I’m way better at one to one conversations than jumping into a group talk, and trust me, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.
I also love networking, but I’ve had to work really hard to not dread walking into a room alone not knowing what’s going to happen or being worried that the talk is going to be daunting in one way or another. So here are three tips to help you get over an introverted fear of networking:
The way I’ve managed to overcome the general networking anxiety is, funnily enough, by going on my own. Now, don’t get me wrong, it’s terrifying at first but you soon get used to it. Now, the reason I think that this works is because it forced me to talk to people. It forced me to sit next to people I didn’t know and spark a conversation with them, and ultimately see what they’re interests are, what they’re doing and so on and so forth.
I know what I’m like. If I go to a networking event with a friend or someone I vaguely know, it’s instinctive for me, as it is for many introverts, to stick and talk to that one person. I’d literally cling on to them for dear life, because it’s easier than speaking to new people, it’s comfortable and familiar. That’s great, but it’s not what networking is about, and I sometimes get way more value from an event if I fly solo.
Following that, it’s quite a simple fact that the more you do it, the easier it becomes, and more likely than not you’ll start bumping into some familiar faces. I really don’t go to events and be loud and in your face. I like speaking to people in one to one conversations, and doing so helps me in the long run understand who they are and what they’re doing. So you really don’t need to be the most confident person in the world to network, you can do it in your own way with your own style and really make it work for you.
Finally, don’t feel like you have to go to every single networking event to earn your next pay rise. It’s okay to say no, and it’s important to find the right kind of networking event that works for you. Take the time to find the kind of networking events that fits your personality, that suit your interests and that you’re willing to make the time for. There are so many networking events out there, it’s important to take the time and figure out which ones are worthwhile for you.
So there you have it, some of my tips for a quiet person’s networking. I’d be really interested to see how other introverts out there do it?