Networking can be a bit of a challenge for introverts. While it plays an essential role in building a professional life and career, the concept of networking doesn’t always come naturally to those who don’t consider themselves a “Type A Personality.” However, that’s not uncommon, networking takes time to master. While extroverts seem to have a bit of an advantage when it comes to “just talking to people”, don’t underestimate the ability for introverts to build strong networks. So, what’s the trick? Find networking methods that work for you. One of the most important things to remember when it comes to networking is there is no right or wrong way to network. Networking can happen in any form, from events to 1-on-1 coffees. Finding the most efficient way for you can make networking feel less frightening and emotionally exhausting.
Try some of these networking tips to help you improve your networking as an introvert:
“Tell me about yourself” is every introvert’s least favorite sentence. In the professional world, you’ll need to answer this often. However, the question is much less dreadful when you have a quick answer to it. Create your “elevator pitch”. What do you do? How long have you been doing it? Why are you great at it? These are things you can incorporate into your “elevator pitch.” Keep your elevator pitch short, concise, and make sure it’s easy to remember. You will most likely have to repeat it often.
The hardest part about networking? Starting the conversation. “How should I approach the person? Should I immediately start talking about work or engage in pointless banter about the weather?” Don’t over think it. Often at networking events, everyone is there for the same reason: to network. Ask a question, introduce yourself, you can never go wrong with a simple “hello.” Remember that networking isn’t just to sell yourself, but to build relationships. You don’t need to start with your elevator pitch or list of accomplishments, let your conversation flow organically. Once you’ve mastered your opener, you can use it all the time!
Introverts have many traits that would work to their advantage when networking. For starters, listening is something introverts do very well. Most people are better at talking than listening, so being a good listener will definitely make an introvert stand out during a conversation. Listening makes it easier to take conversations to the next level and makes the person feel that you are interested in what they have to say. “You mentioned ___ earlier, can you tell me some more about that?” Making reference to past conversations or earlier points in the conversation is not only a great way to prove your attention to detail and listening skills, but also helps you gain more information.
As mentioned earlier, network takes time to master. The more you network, the better you get at it and the easier it becomes. Networking has more advantages than just building your professional career, it also helps build leadership, communication and people skills. It’s important to remember that networking is a learning process as much as it is a career building strategy.