An Introvert's Survival Guide to Networking

Are introverted people doomed to not succeed in the world of business relationships?

NO. NOT AT ALL.

You just need to network and build business relationships differently than extroverted people do. For an introvert, it is more important to be selective on who to connect with and to embrace quality over quantity of connections.

Let's look at five tips on how to leverage your introverted nature to build out a professional network:

Use social media. You don't have to go to events or meet people in person initially. Social networks like LinkedIn are a great way to reach out to professionals in the industries and roles you are interested in.

Alternatively, Twitter is a good place to have on-the-fly conversations with creative professionals.

Prepare before an event. Before you go to an in-person event, come up with a brief intro to share about yourself:

- A story or two on your background
- Who are you and what are you about?
- What do you aspire to become?

Write these statements on note cards and practice what you will say. Or even sneak the note cards in your pocket to look at later on.

Focus on a few people. Research ahead of time to see who will be attending the event. After figuring out which attendees you want to connect with, study their career experience and interests. This will give you insight into how to best approach a conversation when you see them in person.

The less focused you are on trying to maximize the number of people you meet, the less anxious you'll be because the goal is to talk to people with shared interests.. This can result in higher value conversations instead of a bunch of superficial ones.

Enlist a networking buddy. Ask a friend or someone you know ahead of time if they can come to the event with you. Especially when you first start going to networking events it can seem daunting to be in a room full of strangers by yourself.

Even if you didn't go to the event with anyone, you can look for a person at the event to wing with you. Bonus points if you can find a wing with an extremely outgoing personality!

Ask a lot of questions. Introverted people do not like attention directed at them, so they typically talk less than others. They can feel emotionally drained from occasional attention.

Instead of talking about yourself, why don't you ask the other person about their motivations, skills, and interests?

As long as you are genuinely interested in what they have to say, the other person will think you are great at holding a conversation. But in reality, you let them do all the talking.

Focus on quality over quantity.

As you can see from the tips above, you don't have to change your introverted personality to build a network of professional connections. It's way easier to focus on prioritizing meaningful professional connections rather than trying to go after a lot of people at once.

Just remember, it takes time to become comfortable with putting yourself out there...so be patient!

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