Networking Doesn't Have To Be a Nightmare for Introverts!
by MSM Coaching on 11th February 2013
If you're naturally a more reserved person, attending a networking event could feel like one of your worst nightmares coming true.
But you know you have to do it because your career or your business will greatly benefit from the contacts will make. There are steps you can take to make it far less painful...
Learn About YourselfUnderstand what it means to be an introvert. Some introverts are actually great salespeople because all sales aren't the same and they are often extremely good at developing relationships with customers instead of trying to sell to them.
Typically, introverts are generally quieter individuals who prefer to spend as much time as possible in the company of their own thoughts and ideas, even when among people.
Become a Good Listener
The caring attitude of introverts gives them an advantage over more the chatty networkers, since they're usually good listeners who absorb and reflect on what they hear. The ability to remember what others say and value is critical to building good relationships.The best thing is for introverts to accept their personality type and not to try being extroverted. To learn to speak up a bit more to allow people to get to know your better, without the need to keep chatting away.
Connect to Your Passion
Many introverts panic and freeze at the thought of speaking to strangers. By focusing on an aspect of their industry or field, or on a special career interest you're passionate about, you will overcome this.
What's your passion? What field, industry, product, service or cause excites you? What current events capture your attention? What new products or developments fascinate you? When you focus on these interests, you'll talk with conviction and insight, which can reduce your networking jitters.
Aim to pick something that means a lot to you and approach people on that basis. You need to have a focus and genuine reason for speaking to people. Don't be afraid to be more of an observer who likes to see what's going on, but if you feel strongly about something...express it.
Volunteer - Help Others
Volunteering with professional, community and other groups is another good way for shy candidates to gain visibility and develop relationships. Whenever possible, accept volunteer jobs that allow you to show off your skills.
Communicate with Good Body Language
Introverts can enhance their effectiveness by improving how they come across to others. You don't have to make a sudden personality change; however, by altering negative perceptions about yourself, you'll build greater trust and rapport with others.
Learn to maintain good eye contact. Introverts often avoid looking directly at others, which can seem as though they are remote or disinterested. Changing this habit can be difficult. Start by looking at a spot just above and between the other person's eyes. This may seem awkward, but it works. The other person doesn't know you're looking there instead of in their eyes, and you won't seem to glare or stare. Do not try to be more outgoing then you are as this will be contrary to your nature, don't do anything that seems artificial or contrived. You are better to know who you are and be honest with people. You can still be quiet, earnest, solid and sincere and still be embraced wherever you go.
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