It seems like introverts are getting a lot of buzz recently, from books, to blogs, to Time magazine covers, our society seems to be rediscovering introverts. This is great news for me and roughly 50% of the population. I read a great article, The Introverts Guide to Networking, on the Harvard Business Review blog. The author, a self-professed introvert, discusses how networking has been crucial to her career advancement, and also discusses practical ways to beef up your networking. Being somewhat of an introvert myself and an Information Technology recruiter I found her insights spot on. Below are some of my favorite tips from the article and some of my own insights on networking when it doesn’t always come naturally:
Learn to appreciate your introversion: Because I do need more time to recharge, it gives me time to read, cook, create and explore hobbies. Not only are diverse interests valuable but they generally make for good conversation pieces.
Seek out conversations with one person at a time: Especially if I am tired, I find large networking events and parties exhausting and intimidating. I have found that focusing on having conversations with one person at a time helps make the events more manageable and enjoyable.
Stop being afraid to be the one to reach out: I am always surprised how once I am the first to reach out, kindness is usually reciprocated.
Leverage Social Media: Using LinkedIn or Facebook are great ways to reach out in ways that are less intimating.
Prioritize time to re-energize: If going from one event to another makes you exhausted and less productive – don’t. Be intentional about scheduling time to unwind and recharge in ways you enjoy.