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Strategic Networking for Introverts in the Business

Building valuable connections regardless of social style. Extroverts may shine, but introverts also gain access to collaboration and advancement opportunities.

Strategy
  • Release Date: 28 February 2024
  • Update Date: 15 March 2024
  • Author: Speaker Agency
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Research shows that 30% to 50% of people are introverts. While networking is crucial, it can be tough for introverts.

If you're one of them and want to enhance your networking skills, some strategies can help.

In this article, we'll explore ways you can improve networking for introverts in the business world and how to network as an introvert.

Why is networking important for introverts?

Networking matters for introverts because it allows them to build valuable connections in their field, regardless of their social style.

 Typically, extroverts shine in social settings, giving them an advantage in accessing collaboration and advancement opportunities through networking. But introverts can benefit too.

10 Networking tips for introverts

Here are some networking advice for introverts:

Networking Advice For Introverts

Go for an online event

In-person networking can be a lot for introverts. Luckily, technology has made online networking simpler. You can use social media to connect with people in your field and interact with them. This lets you build relationships with professionals without going to events or meeting face-to-face.

Respect how you recharge

Introverts regain energy by spending time alone. Before a networking event pushing your boundaries, ensure you have enough time to recharge. Consider skipping social gatherings or hanging out with colleagues the night before. 

Instead, do things that boost your energy, like reading alone, walking, taking a bath, or going to bed early. After the event, give yourself some extra time and space to recover. This will help you perform better and might make you more willing to network again in the future.

Have realistic goals

Having a plan when you go to a networking event is important. But, having unrealistic expectations can make it less rewarding. Consider what you want to achieve and set goals matching your strengths. 

If you're not naturally outgoing, don't aim to collect lots of business cards quickly. Instead, focus on making one or two meaningful connections. This approach might be more effective in the long term.

Decide about what you want to talk about

Before the event, make a list of topics or questions you're interested in discussing with people. You can also consider what the people you want to meet might be interested in or struggling with. This way, you'll be prepared to offer support or advice during your conversations.

How To Network As An Introvert

Seek introductions if you're feeling nervous

Walking into a room full of strangers can be intimidating. If you're worried about freezing up, ask for assistance. Approach a panel moderator or event organizer, introduce yourself, and ask for their guidance. Who do they think you should meet? Would they be willing to introduce you?

To make this strategy work, think about your goals beforehand. Be specific about what you hope to achieve at the event and how you can help others. Instead of saying, "I want to meet important people," focus on what makes you unique and the value you can offer. This approach is more likely to lead to meaningful connections.

Focus on meaningful connections

Some people think networking is about meeting as many people as possible and getting lots of business cards. But for introverts, that can be overwhelming. Instead, aim for quality over quantity. 

Find a few people who share your interests or goals, and focus on building strong connections with them. Before the event, you can use LinkedIn or ask friends to introduce you to potential contacts. This way, you'll invest your time and energy where it matters most.

Use your listening skills to your advantage

As an introvert, you're probably a great listener, and that's a valuable trait in networking. Listening carefully to others shows you're interested in them and what they have to say. This helps you build trust and credibility. 

Plus, you can ask thoughtful questions based on what you hear, which can lead to deeper conversations. When you focus on listening more than talking, you can show your value and curiosity, leaving a positive impression on others.

Keep the connection alive even after the event

Networking isn't just about meeting people and building lasting relationships. Follow up with the contacts you've made to turn them into meaningful connections. Send a personalized email or message to thank them for their time and express your interest in staying connected. 

You can also assist, share helpful information, or invite them to another event. By following up and following through, you show professionalism and sincerity and strengthen your network.

Prepare unusual questions and icebreakers

Don't stress about starting conversations; prepare some interesting questions and icebreakers beforehand. Doing a bit of homework and having a few conversation starters ready will boost your confidence and make it easier to connect with others. Plus, it can make you stand out and leave a lasting impression.

Put away your phone

When you're in a social setting, resorting to your phone for comfort is common. But constantly checking it can hinder your ability to connect with others. 

So, before heading to a networking event, put your phone away where it's not easily reachable. Give yourself a break from screens for at least 30 minutes to fully engage with the people around you.

Manage your inner critic

During networking events, it's common for your inner critic to kick in, feeding you negative thoughts like "You don't belong here" or "You're not interesting enough." These thoughts can lower your confidence and make you doubt yourself. 

But remember, you have every right to be there and bring value with your experience and skills. Try to quiet that inner critic by focusing on positive affirmations and reminding yourself of your worth. Everyone is too busy with their own conversations to scrutinize you, so relax and be yourself.

What Next?

As you already know, 30 to 40% of your employees are introverts in business. If you need them to be at their A-game and networking events, you need to invest in a company-wide workshop.

To host this workshop, you need a keynote speaker who has amazing experience working with introverts and how they shine. 

The Speaker Agency brings you all the famous and talented speakers in the UK in one platform for hire. Just get on a call with us to learn more about how to help your employees in building connections!

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