Some say more than 70% of people land jobs through networking. If you’re an introvert, this statistic is enough to bring on a panic attack. Networking for People Who Hate to Network: An Introvert’s Guide to Making Connections That Count, by Next for Me advisor Karen Wickre, is coming out later this year and we can’t wait. In the meantime, we found some advice for making the networking process a little less painful, most written by introverts, for introverts.
In CIO, Sharon Florentine identifies the strategies and tools that can make networking a little less painful for introverts.
- Adjust your expectations. Approaching a meeting with the sole goal of getting a job makes the whole encounter awkward, and can backfire. Instead, focus on the opportunity to find common ground. The person may not be able to help you today, but the connection you make now may make them think of you in the future.
- Use online platforms to your advantage. Start with LinkedIn to reconnect with former colleagues and make new connections. Broaden your online search to learn more about things you have in common with potential connections to make your connection requests less generic and more authentic. Learn the social media favored by the people in the company or industry you want to work in. Graphic and visual artists can follow and engage with other artists on Instagram, while those in the hospitality industry can learn more about a brand based on their customer interactions on Facebook. Quora and Twitter can help you find subject matter experts in a number of industries.
- Build your brand from the comfort of your laptop. It’s never been easier to establish your personal brand by creating your own website or online portfolio. Tools like Squarespace and Medium have built-in social sharing that can help you highlight your professional achievements and let friends and colleagues know you’re in the market for a job or consulting opportunity. “The Web offers a much less stressful networking opportunity than in-person career fairs or live networking events,” says Rona Borre, CEO of IT staffing firm Instant Alliance.
Read the full article: 9 networking tips for introverts
On The Muse, self-described introvert Anna Runyan offers tips for powering through for those of us who are less than thrilled at the thought of schmoozing with a room full of strangers. Among them:
- Be prepared with ice breaker questions to kick off conversations. Indeed.com has a list of 17 icebreaker questions that range from fun (“If you could have any super power, what would it be?”) to thought-provoking (“What’s something you believed earlier in your career but think about differently now?”).
- Use the buddy system by bringing a colleague or friend to a networking event. If that’s not possible, she advises screwing up your courage and making a conscious effort to connect and put someone else at ease. That gives you someone to take breaks with and an excuse to talk to others by introducing your new friend.
- Take a networking challenge. Runyan challenged herself to meet with four people she knew and four she didn’t know every month. “Think about how you can challenge yourself to step out of your comfort zone just a little bit. It might have unexpected—and great—results.”
Read the full article: An Introvert’s Guide to Networking
In the Harvard Business Review, Dorie Clark mused about how, like most introverts, she felt drained by loud, crowded events. Rather than avoid important career-building opportunities, she found ways to make the process work for her.
- Network on your terms. Instead of convening at industry parties that tend to be noisy and overwhelming, she gathers a few like-minded colleagues together for intimate dinners.
- Know your limits. She tries to be cognizant of when she needs to recharge, alternating between social events and downtime. Knowing your limits helps you make the most of the times when you are feeling “on”.
- Calculate the return on investment for your effort. She also recommends doing a cost-benefit analysis of any networking event. “Ask yourself who’s likely to attend, and whether they’re your target audience (however you define that — potential clients, interesting colleagues, etc.). Then follow up by asking how likely it is that you’ll actually get to connect with them.” If the odds are low, saving your energy for another day may be your best option.
Read the full article: Networking for Introverts
Photo credit: Shinichi Sugiyama