Networking can seem like a daunting task, especially for introverts who prefer quiet and solitude to socializing in large, noisy gatherings. Good news is that there are effective ways for introverts to build meaningful connections without straying too far from their comfort zones.
Understanding your strengths and weaknesses can help you surround yourself with people that can push you on your desired career path. By understanding your interests, you can identify which connections to make more naturally. Over the last few years, I’ve been slowing building up my connections within the “UX Design” space by reaching out to various industry professionals. Often times you can stumble across group pages, channels, chats on social media. That can be a good way to ease the tension as you’re not directly engaging with a singular person.
Like previously mentioned, social media is great for reaching out and making new connections. Over the last few years, we’ve spent most of our time online and remote which really helped to normalize online networking. In terms of building up your professional network, I tend to think LinkedIn is best for that as it allows you to see each others’ experiences and occupations. However, connections don’t always have to be made on Linkedin as other platforms might be better for your specific interest.
Introverts can utilize social media to engage in conversations and attend virtual events. This can make face to face interactions feel more comfortable since you’ll already have established common ground.
Instead of trying to meet as many people as possible, focus on building a few meaningful connections. Introverts excel at listening and forming deeper relationships, which can be more valuable in the long run. When you attend and event, identify two or three people you want to meet, and spend time getting to know them. A good way to do this in a virtual event is to write comments or answers in the chat box. Alternatively, you could also respond to messages that interests you and establish your connection that way.
Networking isn’t just about meeting new people, it’s also about nurturing and maintaining connections. After an event, follow up with the people you met by sending personalized email or connecting on social media. Continue to engage with them online or meet for coffee to keep the relationship going. Using LinkedIn as an example, you can often engage in short conversations if you see your connections’ post updates. I like to comment and react with as many of them as I can. And occasionally I would strike up a conversation just to see how they’re doing.
I started actively using LinkedIn earlier last year in hopes of securing a full-time job or a Co-op offer. Through out my 1-year journey, I’ve met many wonderful people that mentored me and helped me grow. I also tend to connect with interviewers and recruiters as well to seek out advice and career guidance. This is definitely necessary for career growth, and you can use this to your advantage as connections may sometimes offer you job opportunities.
Introverts don’t have to miss out on the benefits of networking. By leveraging their strengths, such as active listening and forming deep connections, you can make a lasting impression on others. Embracing online platforms, attending smaller events, and focusing on quality over quantity can make networking a more enjoyable and fruitful experience for introverts. Remember, the key to successful networking is authenticity, so stay true to yourself and let your unique qualities shine.