4 Ways to Get Excited About Networking for Introverts
Networking is an invaluable part of succeeding at job hunting. Word-of-mouth recommendations and referrals are some of the best ways you can get brought into a company for a job. Basically, networking helps you meet the people who will get you hired.
However, mixing and mingling for job hunting is one of the hardest social situations that we put ourselves in as job seekers, students, and new grads. It’s no surprise that people feel a lot of anxiety about networking!
Networking for introverts can be especially tough. Introverts are often a little more shy and hesitant to speak to people they don’t know, making schmoozing with a big crowd of strangers extra challenging.
Being uncomfortable at networking events is super common. Despite this, feeling awkward or shy can be overcome with four helpful tips about networking for introverts (no matter how introverted or extroverted you happen to be).
1. It’s All In The Preparation
Networking is hard for many people, but it’s often necessary to get a job that you want. The best thing you can do if you’re dreading networking is to prepare yourself for the potential stress.
Everyone manages stress differently. If you like planning, you can write a to-do list to prepare for the event. Alternatively, you could meditate or take a long walk before the event takes place.
You can also alleviate potential stress by preparing for the event itself ahead of time. Make sure you have the following when you walk into an event:
Business cards, if you have them
Copies of your resume, if you’re at a hiring fair
Finally, have a mental list of questions to ask about the person you’re speaking with. People usually love to talk about themselves. It will take the spotlight off of you if you’re feeling nervous and it ensures the conversation will keep moving along!
2. It’s Okay to Mess Up
When you’re networking, you may make mistakes. Maybe you forget someone’s name or maybe you’re just a little awkward meeting new people.
But it’s okay. Everyone makes mistakes when they’re networking!
The worst thing to do while networking is get so worked up about your potential mistakes that you can’t continue to talk to people. You’ll probably talk to dozen of people at every event you go to, so don’t worry if you mess up once or twice (or even more)!
Don’t beat yourself up about your mistakes. Just do your best to recover as smoothly as possible, or even excuse yourself to get a drink and start up a conversation elsewhere.
3. Remember Your Purpose
It’s helpful to keep your end goal in mind when you’re making conversation with a stranger. It will assist you in making your conversation streamlined.
Remembering your purpose when you’re speaking will also make sure that you actually achieve your goal instead of just mixing and mingling without accomplishing anything.
Having an end goal in mind when you’re chatting can be really useful to keep the conversation going, as well as a great tool when you’re trying to exit a conversation that’s naturally come to an end.
4. Just Relax (Remember to Exhale)
We’ve all heard this advice before: “If you’re nervous, remember to just breathe.”
The problem is that most people focus on taking deep breaths in when they’re nervous – but they can forget to exhale!
When you exhale, you’re releasing the extra carbon dioxide in your lungs. If you’re nervous and taking deep breaths in without exhaling an equal amount out, you’re actually stressing your body out with a buildup of carbon dioxide.
So, if your nerves start getting the best of you, breathe in, and then relax with a nice, long breath out. You’ll be good to go, promise.