We have all probably heard it: networking is the key to success. It plays a huge role when it comes to finding a new job, making that career move or finally starting your new business venture.
Yet, networking can sometimes be one of the most dreadful and challenging things to do, especially if you’re an introvert – Here are five easy tips that will help you master your networking game:
For those of us who are quite shy and always find ourselves having the most awkward introductions, online networking is a great way to start. Fortunately, we live in a digital age which makes it super easy for us to connect with people from all over the world. So if you’re not that great at having small talks, why not take networking online? Get active on LinkedIn or Twitter, share your knowledge and position yourself as an expert in your field.
Check Your Inner-Circle
If you’re looking to partner up with people for a new project but not sure where to look, start looking within your inner circle. Don’t be reluctant to ask your colleagues, friends or family members for help, especially when it comes to finding the right contacts. Your friend Jennifer might have a cousin, who’s friend will be a perfect match for that collaboration.
(Re)connect With Old Contacts
Sometimes, because we are so focused on meeting new people and making new connections, it’s kind of easy for us to forget the people we have connected with in the past. Networking is not just about gaining new contacts, but also about maintaining the ones you already have.
You don’t have to cease from communication because a particular project or partnership has ended. Once in a while, send an email or text or schedule a nice coffee date with an old contact – And the good thing is because you already know them you save yourself those awkward moments.
Always Be Prepared
If you are planning to attend a networking event, always make sure you go prepared. As an introvert, having small talks might not be one of your strengths. So try to plan ahead on how you want to introduce yourself or at least on how you want to start a conversation. You don’t have to talk in terms of collaborations immediately. Take the time to genuinely get to know someone and the specific industry they are operating in.
There’s nothing more important than just being your authentic self. Especially when it comes to networking. The ultimate key to successful networking is to not only make genuine connections but to also maintain those connections – In order to build lasting relationships, don’t pretend to be someone or something you’re not in the hope that people will like you.
Allow people to like you for who you truly are. Also, don’t forget that the person you’re connecting with is human…just like you. And for all you know, this person might even be an introvert too!