You want to get into the networking game to expand your professional network – but you keep procrastinating. It seems like you’ve always got something more pressing to do instead of attending that awards luncheon, conference or after-work event.
If this sounds like you, you may be an introvert, and you are missing out on business opportunities and relationships that could assist you in your career!
Here are 10 tips from BravoTECH CEO Valerie Freeman for introverts who want to boost their careers through networking.
1. Go to professional meetings where you are likely to know someone or where you are likely to find people who share your interests – for example college alumni meetings or a professional organization for people with similar roles.
2. Go to events or meetings where the program is interesting to you – enjoying the program will help you relax and be yourself.
3. Ask a friend to go with you so you don’t have to carry the conversation.
4. As you converse with individuals, ask how you can help them – givers get!
5. Follow up on people you meet with an invitation to LinkedIn or to a coffee, lunch or a business/social event.
6. Start your own networking group by first asking friends to join you and adding their contacts.
7. Experiment with different types of events and meetings to see which ones might benefit you the most.
8. Be patient, as it takes about six months for people to start recognizing you at events.
9. Realize that many of the people you meet are as uncomfortable as you!
10. Push yourself outside your comfort zone – focus on the benefits of networking and meeting new people.
Networking doesn’t just benefit you professionally – it can be personally rewarding as well. You’ll meet interesting people with shared interests and you may even make a few lifelong friends. Good luck!