Networking For Introverts (And Extroverts)
Networking may seem involved and at times complicated whether you are a live-out-loud extrovert or a self-proclaimed give-me-space to be alone introvert. While we all share some characteristics of both personality traits, we tend to sway closer to a more dominant way of interacting with the world around us. Oftentimes, a quiet and reserved nature can prove problematic when networking for introverts. Being an introvert has its advantages like possessing a strong sense of introspection; however, successfully finding ways to network can often seem like a daunting task. Do you relate to the traditional observant yet insightful tendencies typically characteristic of introverts? If you do, you are not alone. It is estimated that between 25% – 40% of the US population are introverts. This means that many introverts stand to benefit from tips and tricks to improve their networking skills, including extroverts!
One-on-One Networking Works Wonders!
Oh, the power of one-on-one networking and the benefits cannot be stated enough for both introverts and extroverts! When building rapport with a new contact, perhaps someone in a role that you’re interested in attaining, try inviting them to a coffee chat, a light lunch meeting or a zoom one-on-one call. Before the meeting, take time to jot down questions that you have and think about what you would like your new connection to know about you. Consider asking your new connection if they would be open to meeting on a regular basis to stay in touch and to further nurture your new relationship. Build anticipation for your next meeting by making suggestions on the next topics you look forward to covering during future meetings.
Practice for Confidence and Develop an Elevator Pitch
Networking is only one part of the equation; being committed to networking success will require practice along with development of an elevator pitch. Confidence does not happen with one interaction, instead its strategically planned experiences happening over time, perhaps more so for introverts. Practice makes perfect when developing confidence. Try practicing conversation starters and how you would answer the same questions if posed to you. Creating an elevator pitch is a way to quickly summarize who you are, what you do and where you aspire to be within 30 seconds. With an elevator pitch, you should only focus on the most important highlights of your professional background, leaving additional details out unless your new connections ask more questions about you.
Count on Your Strengths
Don’t be afraid to exercise your strengths when networking. While extroverts may not have an issue with this aspect, it is common that introverts prefer not to have the spotlight. You have many great attributes that have gotten you this far in life, count on using your strengths to propel your networking experience. If you are a great writer, you enjoy being an organizer of facts, you host great parties or have been known to give solid advice to your peers, family, friends, and connections, lean into that and let your new connection know. Always find ways to advocate for who you are and what you bring to the table. That is what we call flexing your strengths for a great cause!
Take Strategic Steps to Network
Whether you identify as an introvert or extrovert, taking strategic steps to build your network over time will prove beneficial throughout your career. If you would like to sign up for one-on-one career coaching, would like to join a group career coaching session or learn about career training opportunities and more, head on over to SkillUp resources to check out all the career support available for you.