Let’s face it. There are some of us that hate networking. Either we’ve been burned by cattiness, elitism, competitiveness, or negativity. Or we’re in the 33-50% of the world that are introverts, like me! Read on to get my proven strategies for how I network as an introvert.
You might be an introvert and not even realize it!
1. You’re not shy and have strong opinions. However, you’re only comfortable expressing these in small circles or with close friends.
2. You see crowds and group events as necessary evils you tolerate. But you wish binge watching Netflix and socializing on Facebook be recognized as legitimate pastimes.
3. You have a public job and have to be “on.” When you get home you need to decompress with silence or hiding in the car before you can deal with people again.
See, I told you you’re an introvert. Now you might be wondering why you have to network at all. “Can’t I just email anyone I want to collaborate with,” you truly ask.
Short answer, NO!
Networking allows you to:
• Be inspired and motivated by the right people
• Clarify your own beliefs, messages, and unique strengths in a group
• Gain insights and tools outside of your own head
• Have your values reflected back to you, helping you realize you’re not alone
Here are 5 ways that I network as an introvert
1. Have brunch and ask close friends/colleagues to each bring 2 people who are just like us
2. Plan my network events for the time of day when I’m most energized. For me, that’s morning and early afternoon.
3. At the event, schedule a follow up conversation or meeting. Put it on the calendar right then and there.
4. If it’s a large group, commit to doing 3 laps around the room and exchanging 3 email addresses
5. Plan a self-care activity immediately after the event (massage, pedicure, hair salon)