Networking is essential because the connections we create enable us to learn more, expand our horizons and possibly obtain new opportunities. I’m sure you’ve heard before that your net worth is equated to your network.
For people like myself who consider themselves to be introverted, networking can sound terrifying. However, I truly thrive at networking in spite of my being an introvert.
Therefore, for other introverts who are unsure about how to go ahead and make moves for their career, I’m here to hold your hand. This is what you need to do.
Understand Your Goals for Networking
As an introvert, we value our space. Therefore, if we decide to step out, it has to be something that matters to us. That’s why you need to know your goals for networking.
Are you networking to improve and expand your knowledge? Are you networking to find a potential mentor? Are you networking to find a business partner or sponsor? You need to understand your main goals for networking.
When you truly understand your goals, it makes you that much more motivated to network often. You know the reasons why you do what you do.
Get To Know What You Bring to The Table
A big mistake that is often made when networking is that there is so much pressure placed on what another person can do for you. However, networking is not all about how someone else can help you.
Networking is a two-way street. You too can show the value that you offer to the other person that you are seeking a connection with.
In order to do this, you need to understand what makes you valuable. Understand your best skills and strengths. Understand how you could possibly provide support and insight to another connection.
Strong networks are built and maintained when both individuals deliver on providing value to each other. What do you bring to the table?
Research & Preparation is Key
One of the reasons why people can get too nervous about the idea of networking is because they don’t prepare. Before you attend a networking event or reach out to a contact, do your research. Truly understand the person that you are seeking a connection with.
Get to understand their career journey. Understand the different projects that they are working on. Get to understand their goals, dreams, and what fuels them.
Through enough research, you would be better prepared when it’s time to connect. You’d understand why you want to make certain enquiries. You’d understand how to approach the potential connection in a way they would find memorable.
Be Aware that Networking Is Not Only Through Professional Events
A lot of introverts can psych themselves out of networking. This is because they complicate the idea of dressing up and carrying business cards. It seems like a do-or-die affair. They assume that everything about networking has to be official. However, that is not true.
Networking is not all about official events. You can network through social events that relate to things you actually care about. Networking is simply communication and making a connection. This can happen everywhere and anywhere. Change your perspective on what networking means and you’d find yourself making new connections often.
Utilize Online Means of Networking
Due to the onset of COVID-19, the digital media world is booming. This is a plus for introverts who do not want to always leave the house.
You can network from the comfort of your home. You can network through online meetings and conferences held via Zoom and Team Meetings.
You can network through social media platforms by sending a well-crafted message that is specific to who you are and the person you are seeking the connection with.
Set Up A Time Frame to Avoid Energy Drainage
Being an introvert, we can find our energy easily drained when with others. That’s why it’s best to always set a time frame for yourself. Be realistic with what you can handle. Is it 30 minutes to an hour? Then, make that deal with yourself that from 30 minutes to an hour, you will know what you have to accomplish.
You don’t have to force yourself to run till you are empty at events. Have a time frame and then happily carry your bag and go. Peace out.
The Follow-Up Process is Key
Now, that you have made the connection, the follow-up process matters. As an introvert, you can choose the method of follow-up that is most comfortable for you. You do not have to meet up with the connection every two weeks.
You can follow up with them by staying updated on social media. You can follow up with them by having their contact information and reaching out once a week or two.
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