For introverts, the idea of networking can be overwhelming. Not only does face-to-face contact cause anxiety but even being on the phone can cause the blood pressure to rise and the palms to sweat. Being introverted is not a flaw in your personality, it just means you have to determine different ways to approach the same situations as your extroverted colleagues. Before you allow panic to drive you away from networking events, here are three tips that can help you stay cool, calm, and collected.
Give yourself a job
If you’re shy then you may do better if you give yourself a task to complete. Before attending a networking event, create a goal. It should be quantifiable, such as getting 10 business cards or making an effort to talk to three different people. Another good option is to volunteer at the event. Local trade organizations are usually volunteer-based, so they might need someone to help set up or give out name tags at the door. This can help you feel a little more comfortable in the networking environment since you are in control of the situation.
Create a killer online brand
The Internet was practically designed for introverted professionals. Facebook can’t replace face-to-face interaction but it can enhance the interaction and even make it easier to meet new people. LinkedIn is the best place to start on a professional level. Create and complete a profile that includes all the most important information about you as a professional. From that point, you can design your own portfolio website or start a blog. Don’t forget to join local professional groups online so you can interact and even work up the courage to attend a meeting. If you already know some of the members online then it will be easier to strike up a conversation in person.
Always follow up
A common trait for introverted job seekers, and shy people in general, is to second guess everything that you say. After a conversation you may start to overthink what you said, how you said it, and what you could have said different. Following up can give you a chance to restate yourself or even make corrections along the way. When you meet someone new, don’t forget to get their contact information. After the event, send a follow-up email. You can recap your conversation and even make additional points that you wish you had said in person.
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