For the extrovert, getting out and meeting new people, making contacts and networking is not a difficult task. For the introvert however it can be quite a challenge. But the traits that make introvert who they are also make them a valuable connection.
Introverts are known to be deliberately silent, reflective, calm, and thoughtful while enjoying developing close relationships. They also tend to work on doing the right thing. If you consider yourself an introvert put aside the notion that you’re not a networking “type” person but rather one who can be a respected part of one’s network.
If face-to-face networking opportunities become available, prepare yourself tools to help succeed before heading to the event. For example, “small talk” can be difficult so develop a list of starter questions. These can serve to show interest about a person or business. Write and memorize your 30 second elevator speech to share about yourself and rehearse it at home for the best presentation.
For support, bring a friend along to the event. This can relieve that uneasy feeling of being alone in a crowd. Together it will be easier to work into conversations. Stay present and aware of your surroundings listening for discussions where you can add value. Challenge yourself. Define a goal to make a certain number of contacts at the event. Keep in mind that not each one has to be a lasting relationship but if one or two work out it can help change your career or how you do business.
For the introvert, social media networking can be equally as intimidating both by the wide spectrum of outlets available but also by the unfamiliarity of connecting online. Chose one or two networking sites to follow. Read the postings for a while before your first post to understand how the discussions flow. Then start by acknowledging or “liking” another’s post. Continue contributing a little at time and before you know it your professional brand will develop and stand out.
Don’t forget to reward yourself as progress is made. Think back about the experience and identify learning experiences, what you can do better and most importantly, what you can do with new connections to your network.