Finally, Networking for Introverts That Doesn't Suck

4 Simple Networking Tips for Introverts
by Kelly Poulson
October 27, 2016
This article was written by Kelly Poulson, one of our mentors. Like what she has to say? You can book a one-on-one session with her to talk about your own career goals.
Ah, networking. Is there anyone who doesn’t dread it?
Oh, wait. Is that just me? Is my introvert showing? That’s right folks. Sometimes individuals who dedicate their careers to working with people are introverts. And it doesn’t prevent them from progressing on their path. Nor should it for you! Often, the term networking has negative connotations attached to it. But at the end of the day, it’s just talking to people. We’re all capable of it every now and again. Now, how to make it less draining.

Do some digging

Research, people! You can do it alone and when you’ve got the energy to do so. Find out about organizations and see if they might be the right fit for you. Are there any peeps online that give you career envy? Read up on how they got to where they are. Seek out new and interesting career paths that you find intriguing and then find some folks who work in the realm. We’ve got so much information at our fingertips these days and getting our hands on it doesn’t even involve leaving our comfort zone if we don’t want to.
Are you an amazing listener? Many introverts are. When meeting someone in a networking capacity, arm yourself with a list of questions, take note of their answers and use those insights as a follow up in the future.

Use your superpowers

Play to your strengths. Are you an amazing listener? Many introverts are. When meeting someone in a networking capacity, arm yourself with a list of questions, take note of their answers and use those insights as a follow up in the future. It will speak volumes about you to that individual that you paid such close attention to the conversation and may open more doors than you realize. Go into conversations with new people with a goal of hearing their stories. Look to learn about new people, places and things and instead of focusing on what they can do for you, what about how you might be able to provide an assist to them? That could be an extremely refreshing change of pace for people who are used to getting hit up for advice or guidance on the regular.

Put the “social” in Social Media

Social media can be the quiet person’s best friend, especially when it comes to networking. You have the ability to get access to hiring managers, HR folks, even CEOs at the touch of a button. Do some outreach to people you find interesting and ask to hear about them. The social world allows you to craft intelligent, thoughtful and engaging messages to these people without all of the stress that may come with face to face interactions. What may start as a request to connect can lead to much more meaningful dialogue if you ask the right questions. By the time you’re ready to connect live and in person, that person could feel like an old friend!

Take a break

If you are going to an event, give yourself some alone time just prior to chill or arm yourself with the tools you need to thrive. Be it your phone (dog videos anyone?) or a meditation app to use before heading in. It’s ok to recognize when you need a break and take it. Especially if it will leave you feeling more ready to engage in conversation upon return.

People often make the mistake of not realizing the importance of building relationships in your career across industries, professions, etc. If you’re an introvert, it can be draining but you never know where you’ll meet the person who could change your life (personally or professionally.) Be open to connecting with people from a variety of worlds and backgrounds and willing to share your perspective. It could impact your (or their) futures in ways you can’t begin to imagine. And remember, just because you’re an introvert, it doesn’t mean you can’t build relationships to further your life and career.
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Are you an introvert? What do you do to make the networking process easier?