Being shy can be a networking asset, you just need to know how to use it. Remember, the world craves balance. If networking events were made up of entirely extroverts, they would drive themselves crazy. Here are COTJ’s 5 networking tips for shy or introverted people:
1. Utilize Social Media – Begin networking first on Linkedin, Facebook, Myspace, or any web 2.0 destination that connects you to people with similar interests. Start building up your contacts/friends list, and build up your relationship with these people. Once you feel comfortable, invite them to join a networking event with you. This may help the lessen any intimidation you may feel of going it alone.
2 . Use being shy to your advantage – People absolutely love carrying on about themselves, so provide an ear for them to let loose on, and you’ll make a friend in the process. Don’t be intimidated by louder, extroverted net workers. They need you, and they know it. Just be yourself, be polite, listen, and sacrifice your ears over to the extroverts.
3 – Set networking goals – Make it your mission to talk to X amount of people and/or set a goal on how many events you’ll attend each month. If nothing else, just set your mind on having fun and enjoying each event. A positive mind set is critical.
4 – Know when to speak up – Lay low until a question surrounding your area of expertise is brought up. Once you feel confident, speak loud and clear. Keep it short and to the point, and you will look like a star.
5– Smile – Simple right? Not only does the upside down frown bring a look of confidence, but you’ll instantly become easier to approach as well. Heck, smiling may even force/trick you into having a good time. Not smiling can leave a negative impression that you’re intimidated, uncomfortable, uninterested (maybe the worst), tired, or just sociably awkward. I know this is weird, but just in case you honestly don’t know how to smile, click HERE TO LEARN.