To an introvert, networking is a necessary evil in cultivating and maintaining business and personal relationships. It’s not that I don’t like talking to or meeting new people, but socializing for extended periods of time often drains me in ways my extroverted friends just don’t understand. However, I recognize the importance of growing your social network and have definitely gained from knowing the right person at the right time.
I decided to research some networking tips for introverts. If you haven’t already, I highly suggest taking the Myers-Briggs personality test (free version here). Based on Jung’s theory, the test results in a four-letter personality type (one of 16 variations) that lends insight into how you perceive the world. I am an INFJ (Introversion, Intuitive, Feeling and Judging). There are many websites online that offer relationship and career advice specific to your Myers-Briggs type, which I have found to be an invaluable resource.
Some key takeaways:
- Speak up! I have the tendency to shy away from saying what’s on my mind because I am worried it is not relevant or will not add anything to the conversation. INFJ’s tend to have a million things racing through their mind at any given second but only say what they think is really important. This can sometimes be misinterpreted as disinterest or being standoffish, which is rarely the case. Networking is all about making connections with people, speak up so you have a chance to find common ground.
- LinkedIn is great for building networks without the constant face-to-face interaction. Build a stellar profile, add people in your field who you have connections with (add them even if you don’t) and network away! It is also useful to join groups of like-minded people.
- Make sure you provide some way to continue your interaction – provide your card, LinkedIn details, arrange a follow-up lunch/coffee/cocktails.
I continue to push myself by attending industry events I may otherwise shy away from. Networking is an incredibly valuable skill to possess and it is something I am continually trying to hone!
Do you have any go-to networking tips? Any tips for introverts in particular? Leave me a note in the comments below!