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Networking for Introverts

Not the type who can walk into a room and instantly become friends with anyone you talk to? Don't worry, that doesn't mean that there is anything wrong with you, it just means that you are more introverted than extroverted. So in a business world where it is "all about who you know", how do you network as an introvert? Here are some basic tips that you can follow to network, while still staying true to who you are.

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  1. Social media is your best friend. Does the thought of walking up to someone and introducing yourself make your palms sweat? You aren't alone. That is why LinkedIn is such a great site for professionals to build their network and their connections without having to be face to face.
  2. Be realistic. If you are going to a  networking event, do not force yourself to be an extrovert when you are an introvert. Set a goal for yourself, maybe make 3-5 connections instead of 10. Remember that extroverts might make more connections, but it is the quality of those connections that will eventually pay off. Do not psych yourself out by forcing yourself to make an absurd amount of connections.
  3. Give yourself a break. Do not be so hard on yourself. If you need to step away, regroup and regain your thoughts or nerve to talk to someone, take a break.
  4. Flash cards. If you get tongue tied when talking to someone new, maybe rehearse some talking points and keep them on a notecard in your pocket to glance at before approaching someone.
  5. Bring a colleague. Bringing someone along that you are comfortable with can make networking less daunting a task.
  6. Networking can kind of feel like asking someone on a date. It is a bold, nerve filled interaction. The difference is, most people want to network too so most are open to following up or meeting for a lunch to discuss things.
  7. Practice makes perfect. Rehearse what you might say to a family member or friend.

Just remember to breathe and take it one step at a time. Networking can be fun if you let it.

 

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