Everyone knows how important it is to make connections with
other professionals when you’re looking for a new job, especially at networking
events. But what if you’re like me, a wallflower who shies away from small talk
and interacting with strangers?
Never fear, introverts of the world. You, too, can find
success through networking. It just takes some practice. Here are my tips for
If you’re an introvert, you know it doesn’t necessarily mean
you’re shy, just that you need to recharge before and after social engagements.
When planning to attend a networking event, schedule some time before and after
the event for solitude. I usually make sure the evening before involves solo
activities such as rock climbing or sewing. Then I have some quiet time to
recharge my social circuits.
Especially at busy events, it’s easy to become overwhelmed by the
many conversations and activities going on. Try not to get discouraged if you
find your mind drifting to other conversations nearby. You can either try to
reengage your thoughts in the current discussion, or excuse yourself to join
another that may be of more interest.
know what to say? Let others do the talking.
Let’s be honest, most networking
events are full of people eager to tell you about their work experience or side
projects. As an introvert, you can take advantage of this by asking questions
to start conversations and keep them going without the anxiety of feeling like
you’re on stage talking about yourself.
Go to the
same networking events consistently
. This increases your chances of running
into familiar faces, which will help you feel more comfortable over time. Remember
that the goal is to make connections with people, and that can take time. This
isn’t a job interview – it’s about building professional relationships.
of your comfort zone
, but remember that you don’t have to talk to everybody
at the event. In fact, doing so means you’re less likely to truly connect with
attendees. Quality always over quantity, especially when it comes to people.
. You’re might feel uncomfortable, but I guarantee you won’t be
the only one. Everybody is there to meet people, so don’t hesitate to strike up
a conversation. If you need to leave early, don’t be too hard on yourself—but
be sure to go back another time, because it really does get easier the more
often you go!
The hardest step is just convincing yourself to go. Face
your fears and anxieties and you’ll find over time, building new professional connections will come easy.