Friday, February 10, 2012

Networking for Introverts

     Think networking is only for extroverts?  Think again.  Introverts can network just as effectively as the naturally outgoing by finding strategies that are comfortable to them.   In her article, An Introvert’s Guide to Networking, Lisa Petrilli outlines the networking strategies that helped her advance her career. 

Learn to appreciate introversion.
     There’s nothing wrong with being an introvert.  Introversion simply means you are energized by being alone and drained by being around other people.  Optimizing time spent alone can help introverts make networking opportunities powerful and beneficial.  Additionally, seek out one-on-one conversations at networking events rather than engaging with groups.

Learn to reach out.
     Reaching out to others can be intimidating.  Petrilli learned over time that when she extended her hand with a smile and an introduction, the effort was reciprocated.  Once you learn this, introducing yourself is much less daunting in the future.  Social media makes networking even easier these days.  Petrilli advises reaching out to individuals via LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook before events and conferences to let them know that you’re looking forward to meeting them.  Once you finally meet them in person, you’ll be more relaxed and able to have a more productive conversation.

Learn to re-energize.
     In order to present your best self, take time to recharge between networking opportunities instead of rushing from one event to the next.  For example, Petrilli suggests spending 30 minutes alone between cocktails and dinner.

     Networking is a necessary part of landing a job or furthering your career, so it’s impossible to avoid.  Using Petrilli’s strategies and developing your own will make networking a little easier and benefit your career.