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Networking tips for introverts

Posted by: Laurence Simons 18/12/15
Last week, Kirstie Brewer, a journalist for UK newspaper, The Guardian, mapped out a comprehensive guide for introverts to use when it comes to networking. She explains that the experience doesn’t have to be anxiety-inducing or uncomfortable, and that it can be easy to find introverted ways to do extroverted things.

She quotes Stefan Thomas, author of ‘Networking for Dummies’, who describes himself as an introvert. “Introverts can find networking intimidating because of all the louder extroverts in the room trying to sell themselves. But introverts make the best networkers because they’re good listeners and tend to be more interested in other people than about talking about themselves.”

Brewer’s tips include getting there early in order to avoid having to break into already formed conversation groups and making sure to listen to the people you speak to. Dr Rob Yeung, psychologist and author of ‘How to Stand Out: Proven Tactics for Getting Noticed’ comments: “Most people enjoy talking about themselves so let them do the talking. Prepare a handful of open-ended questions that you can ask pretty much anyone you meet. Ask about their job and their interest in the event, for example. Have some little nuggets which concisely describe what you do.”

Other tips include aiming for quality rather than quantity when it comes to meeting those within your profession. It is beneficial to locate small groups with open body language – although this may be difficult – and focusing on making a strong connection with a few select people is often more beneficial than tirelessly collecting contacts. In the same way, always end the conversation by saying that it was really interesting to talk to that person and that you would like to talk again – this means that you are leaving the door open to further contact.

If you are feeling really nervous, take time out in between talking to each person to regain your composure. It can be really good to reflect after a conversation without moving straight into another. See each chat as the beginning of a relationship you can build on later on, and be sure to hand out business cards in order to link on social media afterwards.

One last nugget of advice is to try to relax and keep it light, especially at events like Christmas parties. Be sure to keep an eye on how much you are drinking, and try to enjoy your time there.