How Quiet People Can Network
by Marcia Yudkin
Networking seems antithetical to the reserved nature of introverts.
If you love being by yourself, hate small talk,
don't normally talk to strangers and dislike
noisy crowds, you might be tempted to skip
business and meetings mixers altogether.
However, it is possible to make profitable business connections by attending networking groups - without signing up for a personality transplant. Here's how.
Networking for Introverts
1. Choose the right groups. Test a group by attending once or twice before you commit to it. Some groups are friendly to newcomers, others are not. Some groups ensure that everyone has an opportunity to introduce himself or herself, both to the whole group and to everyone sitting at a particular table.
Structured situations work much better for introverts than just milling around.
Similarly, smaller meetings help you feel at
home faster than enormous ones.
2. Get involved in an organization. You will feel more comfortable and meet people more easily when you have an official role. Volunteer to be a "greeter" and you have the job of talking to everyone briefly as they walk in. Or sign up for the publicity committee and you will be thanked publicly whenever the group gets media coverage.
3. Find someone who is
standing alone. It's far easier to begin
talking to someone who may feel as lost as you
than to break into a group who are already
chatting away in earnest. Likewise, when
deciding where to sit for a dinner meeting, sit
next to someone who isn't talking to anyone yet
rather than next to a small clutch of friends.
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4. Attend meetings with a
buddy. An extroverted friend can help you
break the ice most easily, of course. But even
pairing up with another introvert lets you show
up with a game plan while not feeling like a
5. Polish and practice your 30-second introduction. Give it a creative or humorous twist if possible. Your reward: People come up to you afterwards and initiate a conversation. That is always easier for you than talking first.
6. Plan innocuous questions ahead of time. Use
these to talk to someone who also seems not to know too many people there. For instance: "Are you a member?" "Where did you park?" "This is my first time here, what about you?"
7. Use the Internet to prep
for the meeting. If the organization has a
member list posted online, do a little research
and select a few business people you'd like to
meet, then ask for them when you check in at the
8. Forget about quantity.
Networking yields best results from
quality conversations rather than
mingling with as many people as
possible or collecting the most
business cards. Just one person you
hit it off with might turn into a
great connection for you.
Always keep in
mind that networking is not a party.
Your goal is making connections with
people who might become clients or
know people who can help your
business move forward.
Personal Branding for Introverts
Using these techniques helps you relax and let the magic happen.
on society's disparagement of introverts and
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