Introverts know the problems with networking. And, in truth, even those who don’t have social anxiety can often be quiet and less intrusive in public than their extreme extrovert counterparts. So what can you do if you tend to fade into the background but want to network for your career in 2017? Before you get started, here are some tips that can help you feel more comfortable while networking.
Reach out in writing
If you’re too anxious to meet someone in person for the first time, start by emailing them or reaching out via social media. This will help you make the connection when you do meet face to face for the first time. Many people feel more comfortable putting their thoughts in writing, so don’t be afraid to use this as your method to get to know people better.
Bring a friend
If you want to attend a networking event but you’re worried about being alone, ask a friend or colleague to join you. It is so much easier to feel at ease when you already have someone with you who has your back in the conversation. If the person is an extrovert, this could be an added bonus and they will be willing to break the ice for you.
Create a plan
Many quiet people will feel better if they have a plan of attack for the location or the event itself. What is the venue? Find out where important places are located within the event space to help you better navigate. What do you know about the event? Will there be a speaker? Is there a bar? Is there open space or places to sit? Create a plan that works for you.
Practice small talk
Of course, networking is mostly made up of small talk. It is important that you can talk about current issues in your industry or just about yourself, the weather, or other casual conversation topics. To get practice, start in public. Talk to the person in line next to you at the grocery store. Go out to a favorite local meeting spot, like a bar or a coffee shop, and talk to someone who looks like they might be willing to have a conversation.
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