8 Networking Tips for Introverts

networking tips for introverts

Are you an introvert who dreads attending networking events? Do you feel overwhelmed by the thought of striking up conversations with strangers? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Many introverts find networking challenging, but it doesn’t have to be that way! With a few tips and practical strategies. introverts can master the art of networking with a touch of quiet confidence.

Contrary to popular belief, networking doesn’t have to involve excessive small talk or being the center of attention. Introverts possess unique strengths that can make them highly effective networkers. By tapping into your natural listening skills, ability to build deep connections, and inclination for thoughtful conversation, introverts can actually excel in networking situations.

If you’re ready to harness your introverted strengths and embrace networking with ease, this article is for you. Get ready to develop the skills you need to make meaningful connections and advance your career, all while staying true to your quiet and confident self. Here are 8 networking tips for introverts:

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Take Care of Your Battery

The day before a big competition, athletes boost their carb intake and take it easy on training because they know these choices will maximize their performance on game day. Treat yourself the same way by prepping a day in advance. Unlike the swimmer or the sprinter, your preparations might very well include binging your favorite Netflix show or curling up by the fire with a good book — because what’s really going to set you up for success is recharging your social battery. You’ve got to take a few deep breaths before diving in.

Find More Intimate Settings

You don’t have to force yourself to go to the largest conference or expo swarming with people. You are also allowed to prefer networking events at the cute hipster bar around the corner or an open studio downtown. That’s because networking isn’t a numbers game. And a bunch of subpar connections don’t hold a candle to one outstanding connection. As a bonus, you might actually be able to hear the person you’re trying to have a conversation with! Do keep in mind that events at intimate venues are less publicized and you’ll need to invest a little more time tracking them down.

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Start with One

One connection can alleviate social anxiety since it means you won’t get stuck awkwardly standing on your own. Bring a friend if you can. But if that’s not an option, consider reaching out to a panel moderator or event organizer. Ask them for advice about who you might be able to link-up with (and if they might introduce the two of you).

Stay On Mission

Before you even step into that room, make sure to set a tangible, trackable goal for yourself. Maybe you’re planning to introduce yourself to three people who might lead to future partnerships and collaborations. Maybe you want to meet four people in your field — and at least one further along in their career path who would be excited to share their insights. Set

that goal ahead of time and remind yourself of it when you begin eyeing the exits 15 minutes into the evening.

Mind Over Matter

Remind yourself that everyone at this event wants to meet people just as much as you do. That means the other attendees are secretly hoping people will approach them too. They aren’t going to think it’s weird if you walk over and try to strike up a conversation with them. They’re expecting it.

Even so, initiating that first move can feel impossible sometimes. What do you say? How do you start? It can be helpful to have an opener or two ready, just to get the ball rolling. A simple “So how did you hear about this event?” followed by “What are you hoping to take away from tonight?” can work wonders. “What sort of work do you do?” and “How did you get into that field?” will also do the trick.

networking tips for introverts

Utilize Your Secret Weapon

Most fellow introverts I meet tend to be observant and attentive. That makes us fantastic active listeners. And everyone loves a good listener. Name one person who wouldn’t appreciate feeling deeply seen and heard. So put that talent to good use and ask your new connection some meaningful questions — then show deep and genuine interest in their responses. I guarantee you will leave a significant impression by the end of that interaction.

Own the One-on-One

Though you might feel a little out of your element at a busy event, you have a knack for one-on-ones. So break out the business cards you collected throughout the evening and ask people to meet up for coffee, lunch, or drinks. This is the perfect opportunity to ask for advice about breaking into a field or to grow your knowledge with some insider expertise. Or maybe the two of you would like to brainstorm possible collaborations together. After all, many a great idea began as a note jotted down on a cocktail napkin.

Yes, it can still be intimidating to spend a chunk of time with a stranger. But if you come prepared with good questions, you can let them do the heavy lifting during the conversation. Also remind yourself that you’re showing a lot of intentionality by meeting with someone — and that counts for quite a lot when building genuine business relationships.

Virtual Networking

Thanks to the wonderful world wide web, we can now connect from home. Widen your horizons with Facebook groups, virtual lectures, Linkedin, Zoom events with breakout rooms, and even Instagram. Your next collaboration might be a DM away. This is your chance to reach like-minded entrepreneurs you’d never have run into otherwise. It’s particularly vital for those with a unique niche. The closest expert in your field might live across the country. As mentioned in the last point, however, intentionality is key. A Linkedin request isn’t enough to cultivate a lasting relationship. When you make a meaningful connection, continue finding ways to stay in touch and always repay favors by doing something in return (social media shoutouts, introductions, insights, resources).

 

Like it or not, your career isn’t just about what you know — it’s also about who you know. Rather than let that discourage you, allow it to serve as a reminder: We’re not meant to do things on our own. Networking offers influence, information, and inspiration. It can lead you to all sorts of resources and opportunities. It can even help you find your tribe. So get on out there! You’ve got what it takes. 

What are your best networking tips for introverts?

Johanna Harlow
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Johanna Harlow is an arts and culture journalist for several publications. She enjoys dipping her toes into worlds different from her own by interviewing everyone from cinematographers to photographers, architects to actors, lyricists to muralists. She is also a screenwriter and lives in California’s sunny Bay Area.

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