Introverts are generally people who are not fond of social situations and need alone time in order to regain their energy. It is for this reason that networking may prove to be difficult for people with introverted tendencies.
As networking is a crucial aspect of establishing a good reputation, both as an individual and as a business, the following tips are suggested in order to make the experience a little easier less intimidating.
Be Aware of Your Personal Strengths and Weaknesses
Many introverts possess certain qualities that are not usually common in extroverts – such as good listening skills. It is therefore important to realise the strengths that may come with being an introvert and to use these aspects to boost the quality of communications with people using your unique style and networking skills. Effective listening always plays a significant role in interpersonal communication and you would certainly enhance your style by allowing you to be able to capture the other person’s ideas and messages, and demonstrating your understanding while integrating your own opinion.
Take Part in Networking That Does Not Involve Face-To-Face Interactions
This type of networking works well for introverts, as responses can take place in their own time without social pressures.
Write Letters and Emails: This is an effective method of breaking the ice, as you can mention the person who referred you and give an impressive, well-thought-out introduction. Once contact has been established, there will be opportunity for follow-up calls and thereby professional relationships being formed.
Script-Write the basics of your dialogue on Phone Calls: Doing so will allow you to feel better-prepared and more relaxed for making initial contact through phone calls.
Volunteer and Take Part in Programs that involve your expertise: This will provide the opportunity to foster natural engagement with other individuals in your professional field.
Publicize and Promote Yourself: Getting your thoughts and expertise out there in the form of newsletters and online articles can do wonders for your reputation – especially if you add value to your industry. A good place to start is on professional social networks such as LinkedIn and Sixdegrees.com.
Arriving on time to networking events is imperative to getting started on the right foot. Not only will you feel more ready and relaxed, but you will also be able to engage in small talk with the few people who are there – before huge crowds form as time passes.
It is a good idea to do your research on potential contacts who may be attending the same event. Also bring your business cards (if you have any) and any other hard copy, documentary evidence of your experience, knowledge and skills.
You could also bring someone with, who is an extrovert, to assist you in establishing meaningful contact with people at the event. This by no means implies that they should be your spokesperson, but it is always helpful to have assistance from someone who is more comfortable in social situations – especially for introduction purposes.
Don’t be afraid to excuse yourself from the room should things get too overwhelming.
Don’t forget: While a lot of the focus in networking is put on making initial contact with people, maintaining relationships with contacts after interaction has been established will play a key role in your networking success.