Introverts' Guide to Networking Success: Strategies for Meaningful Connections
Published: Feb 07, 2024
Throughout your career, it's vital that you build up and maintain a professional network. A solid network will afford you new opportunities, and you’ll be able to gain valuable insight into your career. For introverts, networking might seem like a daunting task, but there are ways to manage it. Today, we’re going to provide some tips that introverts can use in order to network effectively. Let’s begin.
Social Media Networking
In the old days, networking took place primarily in person and at specific events. Fortunately, the age of social media has opened the door to new networking possibilities for introverts. LinkedIn is a great way to identify and make new connections, and interacting with your network is as easy as commenting on a post. It’s important to present yourself as a professional, so if you think your LinkedIn or any other social media profiles need cleaning up, now is the time to do it.
Another way to leverage social media in your networking pursuits is to seek out Facebook groups that are relevant to your professional and personal interests. These groups are great for making new connections, gaining insight into your industry, and learning about upcoming events. The best part about networking on social media platforms is that making a new connection is as simple as sending a friend request.
Through social media groups, you may learn of upcoming virtual events. Such events may help to eliminate any nervousness and anxiety associated with attending in-person events, making them an excellent alternative for introverts. By attending virtual events, you might discover that you have more confidence in speaking than you thought you did, and you may decide that you’re ready to take on an in-person event. Either way, you can still build a strong professional network exclusively through virtual events.
For introverts, in-person networking events might seem overwhelming. Not only are attendees surrounded by people they’ve never met before, but they’re also expected to approach potential network connections and strike up conversations. If you’re looking for a confidence booster for in-person events, consider bringing an outgoing friend or coworker with you.
A networking partner will make traveling to events less lonely, and you’ll be able to approach new people with greater ease, especially if your networking partner is good with introductions. Pay close attention to how your networking partner speaks with potential connections. What kinds of questions do they ask? Do they listen as much as they speak? When you’re ready, take the lead on a potential connection—you might be surprised at your newfound confidence!
Building off of our last entry, your networking partner can also help you prepare for upcoming events. For starters, they can help you develop an elevator pitch. This type of pitch is great for sending cold networking emails or approaching potential connections at in-person events. Here is a quick example to work off of:
“Hello, my name is [Your Name], and I [provide a brief description of your current role]. I’m looking to connect with people who share an interest in [industry or topic], and I’d love to talk more about [common experiences/stories].”
Keep in mind that your pitch will vary depending on whether you’re using it for an email or an in-person introduction. For in-person introductions, your pitch should be more conversational, leaving room for comments or questions. Practice delivering your in-person pitch with your networking partner, making any necessary revisions as you go along. In time, you’ll build confidence, and you’ll find it easier to approach potential connections at in-person events.
For those who have trouble approaching strangers and striking up conversations, attending a networking event can easily turn into a big waste of time. Introverts may want to try setting goals before a virtual or in-person event, in order to ensure that they’re receiving at least some benefit for attending.
Set small, easily-achievable goals first. This could be as simple as “introduce myself to one person” or “attend a panel discussion.” By setting small goals, you’ll feel successful more often, which will help boost your confidence. Take your time and focus on achieving simple goals, then set more difficult goals when you’re ready. Remember, it’s not a race—it would be far better to move slowly with a plan than to rush forward and miss potential opportunities.
When we think of networking events, convention centers full of professionals may come to mind, but networking can also take place on a one-on-one basis. For introverts, one-on-one meetings are another alternative to large-scale networking events. If you recently made a new connection on LinkedIn, you could ask them if they’d be interested in a virtual meet-up to discuss industry trends or events. Here is an example of an email to help get you started:
Subject: Exploring Mutual Synergies and a Virtual Meet-Up
Hi [Name of Network Connection],
I hope all is well. I recently came across your profile on LinkedIn and I’m impressed with your expertise in [provide specific example of achievement/industry/interest].
As someone who shares an interest in [specific example of achievement/industry/interest], I believe there might be valuable synergies between our experiences. I would love the opportunity to connect virtually, share insights, and explore potential collaboration.
Would you be open to a brief virtual meet-up at a time that suits you? I’m flexible and can adjust to your schedule.
I look forward to the possibility of connecting and exchanging ideas.
[Your LinkedIn Profile/Contact Information]
Perhaps most importantly, make sure you give yourself plenty of time to recharge your batteries. Introverts typically regain their energy when alone or in small groups of people in low-pressure settings, so allow some downtime between networking events. Know your limits, take breaks when you need them, and get back to networking when you’re ready and well-rested.