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9 networking tips for introverts

Sharon Florentine | March 12, 2015
Successful networking can be difficult for anyone, but it’s especially challenging if you’re introverted and shy by nature. Here, experts share networking tips that should make the process easier, if not completely painless.

6. Use technology to your advantage
LinkedIn has transformed the way people connect to one another, and it's a great tool for introverts who struggle with networking in person. While it's not a substitute for in-person networking, it is a great way to figure out who you need to connect to and why.

"Do your homework. Online research can go a long way toward easing the anxiety of networking. You'll show up well-prepared with talking points, questions and with a better sense of the person you're meeting with. This is a great way to discover if there's a shared interest or common technology. Then, you have common ground and something to talk about, which can help break the ice and put you at ease," says Borre.

You also can create a website, an online portfolio, or a blog to highlight your professional achievements and capitalize on your existing connections, she says.

"Creating a personalized site, blog or portfolio and letting friends and colleagues on social media sites know that you're job hunting can help search out potential connections and jobs; the Web offers a much less stressful networking opportunity than in-person career fairs or live networking events," says Borre.

7. Give yourself time to recharge
Multiple, back-to-back meetings or networking events can be torture for introverts, who tend to need a fair amount of alone time to recharge. If you can, try to leave some time between meetings to rejuvenate -- you can do this in your car, in the restroom, by taking a short walk outside or even on public transportation.

8. Use thank-you notes to clarify points
If, despite your best efforts, you feel you've made a poor impression or flubbed a potentially valuable connection attempt, don't worry -- use a thank-you note to address the issue, and give yourself a second chance to make that great impression.

9. Recognize it doesn't have to be perfect
Introverts tend to berate themselves over social situations that an extrovert would never think twice about. That in itself reinforces their squeamishness about networking.

"You should recognize that nothing is ever perfect when dealing with human interactions. Some will go better than others, but merely good meetings are not the enemy of the ideal meeting. Even bad meetings are opportunities to learn," says Seidel.

 

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