All the experts recommend attending networking events and while I know they are a great way to expand your reach and contacts, for many introverts, that’s simply not an option.
While the term “fake it till you make it” might work for some, it may not work for you. Plus, it’s not necessary to attend every networking opportunity that arises.
So, how do you network as an introvert?
Reach Out To Your Existing Network
This could include your family or friends. Or maybe even friends of your friends. Consider them your second connection. Reach out to family and friends and ask them to recommend you.
You need to be open minded about contacting people you don’t know.
Start with a simple email, then when you gain confidence, try a phone call or even a video call.
Ask For A Recommendation
A recommendation from a former or current client will go a long way. A great referral will bring you more confidence and comfort knowing that someone else believes in you and your skills.
Always Remain Professional
It’s important to always be on time to any appointment, even if you are feeling some stress and anxiety.
Dress professionally. Maybe you work from home, and that’s ok. We’ve all been known to work in our pyjamas. But when meeting someone face to face, always dress appropriately.
And one other thing, avoid checking your phone. In fact, switch it off completely so you aren’t distracted.
Do your research. There is nothing worse than turning up to a meeting or a call with no knowledge about the person you are speaking with.
Take a look at their social media channels and their website to get a feel for who they are and what they stand for. Them think about some open ended questions you can ask.
Know Your Strengths
Knowing your strengths and using them will help you gain an advantage. Perhaps you’re a great listener. Use that strength and “hear” what people are saying. Find out where they need help and work with that.
A positive mindset goes a long way. I love using positive affirmations such as “you are awesome at what you do” or “you will totally nail this”. Come up with an affirmation that resonates with you.
Deep breathing exercises will help too if you are feeling anxious.
Stepping out of your comfort zone will help you to make the next step as an introvert. Sometimes that one thing that is scaring you the most is that one thing you really need to do.
Now, get out there and start networking!