You get invited to a networking meeting and you start to panic. You would rather get a root canal done then have to go and schmooze with people that you don’t know.
I get it. I am not an introvert but I have been married to one for 26 years. I love getting out to meet new people and he does not. I get energized from being with others and he gets drained.
Fortunately, even if you are an introvert you can still network and with technology things have gotten much easier over the years.
Here are some simple tips for networking that will help you become a star as an introvert.
Build a Website-
Whether you’re a realtor, a digital artist, a photographer or a direct sales superstar, the key is to put your work out there. Create a portfolio. You can even post your blog on your website.. And don’t forget to include a professional head shot.
Put a little effort into a nice website, and the next time you receive that event invitation, you won’t have to make small talk with strangers. People will know who you are, because your reputation will precede you.
I know from my husband that making small talk as an introvert is hard. It isn’t easy for him to open up and let people into his life. If he prepares before he goes to a meeting then it is much easier. Spend a few minutes thinking about what you want to learn from others. Remember people love to talk about themselves so ask them questions like “How did you get started in your business?” or “What are you passionate about?” Also think about what you want to share about yourself. Chances are if you ask someone a question then they will ask you the same question.
Find a Networking Buddy-
Having a buddy to walk into a meeting with is always reassuring. Walk into the meeting with a buddy but don’t sit with your friend. Remember you are there to meet others.
Utilize Social Media-
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and the list goes on and on…
One of the best ways to grow your network is to network on social media. This doesn’t mean to just gain connections but build relationships with other like minded people.
Social media sites are a great tool if you’re often too shy to strike up a conversation with someone in person. After all, you can’t take back what you say to a person’s face — but if you have a fear of saying the wrong thing, social media has the advantage of letting you take as much time as you need to type — or retype — a response. And when you compose a post you can edit it as many times as you want.
Volunteer at a Networking Event-
Offer to be the greeter at the door or the person who checks people in. This way you can be the first one to greet others and you are there for a purpose. It is much easier to say hi to others as they are walking in then to walk into a room by yourself and have to start a conversation with a stranger.
Don’t forget to recharge!
My husband comes from his weekly networking meeting and he is ready for a nap.
Now you have some starting points for expanding your network without sacrificing your personality. But remember, for the introvert, networking can be hard work, so always take some down time to re-energize. You want to build your connections, but the downtime is equally important to your physical and mental health.
Happy Networking! Think about ways that you can get out of your comfort zone and challenge yourself. I guarantee that the more you do it the more it will be come more comfortable and you will have great results!