This the final installment of the two-parter 3 Networking Questions For Shy & Introverted Job Seekers
Question 3 — So, why do introverts have trouble networking and what can they do about it?
Many of the activities associated with traditional networking — attending social events, engaging in conversation with many people, seeking out opportunities to “see and be seen” — are difficult for introverts to do. Because we tend to direct our energy inward, talking to a lot of people or being in a social situation where we feel like we have to be a social butterfly can feel awkward.
The good news is that there is more than one way to network. An introvert or a shy person does not have to make connections in the same way as an extrovert or more outgoing person does. (Being shy or having social anxiety is not the same as being an introvert, but our desire to not be part of a large crowd or not wanting to talk to a lot of people is similar.)
As an introvert, I rarely feel comfortable walking into a room full of people and striking up a conversation. Even if I know the majority of the people in the room, being in a large group just wears me out. Instead of saying “I feel awkward at networking events, therefore I’ll never be able to network,” I took a step back and looked at the parts of networking that I was comfortable with.
Remember that networking is about making connections and building relationships. What are some ways in which an introvert can play to their strengths in order to build relationships?
Give more than you get. Most introverts are great listeners. When it’s time to communicate with a networking contact, ask yourself “what information do I have to share today?” It can be an article related to their business, or the name of a pet store that has that specialty dog food he was looking for. When sharing information, don’t think “big,” think relevant. What does your networking contact want, and how can you help him/her get it?
Online Social Media and E-Mail. In online communications, you can control the pace of the conversation and choose your words wisely. Writing an e-mail allows you succinctly state your main points and send without having the pressure of coming up with an immediate response. Never let a conversation go to long online. If you and your contact are sending multiple messages back and forth, your next e-mail or direct message should be an invitation to meet in person.
- Want to advance your career? Clean up your e-mail etiquette
- Smart tips for maintaining your online presence
What networking tactics have helped you to increase and foster your network?