Networking Tips and Advice for Introverts
I’m an introvert. I don’t like to open up and tell people about my life. Small talk doesn’t come easy, and it’s hard for me to make connections with people. Needless to say, I don’t enjoy networking. However, I still understand the importance of it and think it’s a necessary evil that everyone must overcome to move forward in life. So, for all you wallflowers out there, I have included a short list of tips and advice to help
navigate the social side of the professional world.
1. It’s awkward. Get over it.
The beginning of any networking or professional social event will always be awkward
and make an introvert want to curl up and hide, but remember almost everyone in the room feels or has felt the same way you do. Don’t let negative thoughts hold you back; it’s time to put your adult pants on and meet some people. Approaching someone can feel weird, especially when you’re trying to talk about yourself, but like I said, everybody is or has been in this position before. It doesn’t hurt to talk to them and share some information in a setting that encourages it.
2. Always be prepared.
Think of questions and things to say ahead of time. This will help break the ice and
make it easier to approach people and carry on a conversation. Also, always have your resume printed and your business cards on hand. This can give the person a take away from the conversation and a way to further communicate with you.
3. Relax (or try to).
Pay attention to your presence and your body language. Standing in the corner with
your arms crossed might be your comfort zone in these situations, but it sure looks cold. Smiling and standing in the open helps initiate conversation and creates a positive impression. Also, remember to listen and be present in the conversations you have. You don’t have to get personal to form connections, and by asking lots of questions you take the focus off yourself.
While networking may never be a thing that introverts enjoy, practicing these tips and challenging yourself to meet new people will stretch your comfort zone and build your connections.