Do you know the source of your energy?
Some people are extroverts, which means they feel more energised and alive when they are socialising with others. Extroversion is often depicted as one of the ideal traits of a successful leader.
But what about the introverts?
Introverts find their energy within themselves. Even though they usually need time alone to recharge, it doesn’t have to be a handicap when networking. An introvert can still be successful at networking when they let go of limiting beliefs and rethink what it really means to build your network.
Here is how…
Build on existing relationships.
Activities that involve being around large numbers of people, such as conferences, may feel uncomfortable to introverts, but this isn’t the only way to meet and connect with others. As an introvert, it’s easier to open up and connect at smaller gatherings where you already know at least one person there.
Choose the right venue.
Ask a mentor to host a get together with some of their connections. Good locations for introverts would be small function rooms, restaurants or coffee shops. It’s always easier to build trust and rapport at an informal gathering like this where everyone already knows the host and is less on their guard. The table talk and personal exchanges you share will open the door to more meaningful interactions with one another in the future.
Bring a friend.
When you do attend more crowded, busier public events, you can make yourself feel more at ease by asking a colleague or peer to go with you. This will help you feel less alone and let you relax, look more approachable and give you the confidence to talk. As a bonus, it will also help both of you expand your networks!
Another way introverts can feel more confident at public networking events is to plan out some questions and responses beforehand. Think about some of the people you’re likely to meet and what you would like to know about them.
Create a list of short, polite questions you can ask which will prompt an answer and perhaps generate a position of mutual interest.
Prepare a short, funny tale you can tell about yourself that will help others get to know you a little better.
Go through these ideas with a mentor beforehand to make certain the story is suitable and will make a positive impression on others.
Sometimes it’s easier to let our guard down and be more genuine when we meet someone online instead of face-to-face. For example, LinkedIn is a great platform for making professional contacts. It hosts a huge range of professional groups and associations.
Think about joining a relevant group and if you contribute, you’ll soon build new connections. You may choose to take some of these connections offline and into the real world.
Expanding your network is much easier when you expand the way that you think about connecting and interacting with others. If you have any questions about how to build more meaningful relationships which will expand your circle of influence and boost your career, please get in touch here. Networking is a vital tool for career building. Don’t let your shyness or your introversion hold you back.