Networking is essential to finding job opportunities, getting career advice and support and your overall happiness. But it isn’t easy for everyone. According to Psychology Today, 50-74% of the American population are introverts. This means that they may enjoy socializing and talking to people, but they get their energy from their time alone. So, using their social skills can take a lot of work and energy. Below are some suggestions for confident networking for introverts:
1) It doesn’t have to be a huge event
Many people associate networking with big events that involve lots of small talk and cocktails. Actually, it’s much better to make a few deep connections. Reach out to people you know or find contacts on LinkedIn that you think you would have a lot in common with. Ask them to coffee or host a small dinner party.
2) When attending events, do research beforehand
It’s much easier to approach someone when you already have a topic you can discuss with them. If you know who is attending an event, look up their social media profiles and find something you have in common. Or think of interesting questions to ask them about their career that will get them thinking (and likely flattered). For example, say the person is a journalist or public relations professional. You could say something like, “How long have you been interviewing the geniuses of the world?”
3) Stay in touch with connections you already have
Confident networking for introverts is much easier if you have to meet less strangers. Make it a habit to reach out to professional contacts you already have on a regular basis. When you meet someone you have a great conversation with, always remember to follow up and shoot them an email. Give contacts a congratulations on LinkedIn when they reach a career milestone, share interesting articles or videos, or send a simple “Hello how is everything going?” message. Make sure you aren’t only reaching out to them when you need something.
4) Keep your body language in check
One of the important aspects of confident networking for introverts doesn’t involve talking at all. Your body language can say a lot about you. If you are frowning, have your arms crossed, and aren’t making eye contact with people no one will want to approach you. If, on the other hand, you keep a warm attitude with a smile on your face, people will naturally be drawn to you. Also, nod your head and smile while having a conversation to indicate you are listening.
5) Know when to walk away from someone
Confident networking for introverts doesn’t mean making time for and having conversations with just anyone. You only want people in your network that are worth your time. So, if someone gives you a bad feeling for whatever reason, just walk away. Some of the signs to walk away are if they appear superficial, boast excessively or ask questions that are too personal. It’s better to have fewer real connections than a bunch of meaningless ones.
Author: Jessica Cody
Jessica Cody, a native of Fairfield County, Connecticut, has a background in online marketing and public relations. Currently, she works at VHMNetwork LLC in the role of Marketing Analyst. She is a graduate of the University of Connecticut, where she studied Journalism and Political Science. She is also an avid runner with a passion for the outdoors.