How to start networking if you are an introvert
There are people who are comfortable talking to just anyone. They see no problem in approaching someone randomly. However, there are also many people who dread networking events. Maybe your are one of them? You see networking as a necessary thing that needs to be done in order to get more business, but you don't like the process. How can you still thrive in a world that doesn't feel familiar to you?
1. Gain knew knowledge
It comes down to the fact that you have to accept that building a business network is a necessary part of business and that you need to figure out how to manage anxiety. There are many networking strategies that are especially designed for introverted people. Take a look at the book Never Eat Alone, by Keith Ferazzi, where the writer uses story telling and real life examples to help you connect in a way that is pleasurable and suits your personality.
2. Let them do the talking
In a study done by Holly Raider, a clinical professor of management and managing director of executive education at the Kellogg School of Management, part of what makes networking tough is coming up with non-superficial things to say on the spot. But there is no reason you can’t plan ahead, says Raider. She recommends developing a “repertoire” of questions, including conversation starters, follow-ups, and open-ended questions, each of which express interest and give the addressee a wide degree of latitude in how they might respond.
3. Conversation starters
“You want people to feel at ease and engaged, so ask questions that will help nurture dialogue,” Raider says. “Avoid questions where the answer might be strained, socially isolating, or a dead end. People will have a lot to say—and they’ll enjoy talking to you—if they’re prompted in the right way.” When it comes to conversation starters, Raider suggests starting with something expected, such as “What are your responsibilities?” But she recommends having second and third questions that go a bit deeper, such as “What is capturing your focus these days?” or “What interesting trends are you tracking?”
4. Listen carefully
By listening carefully—often a strong quality of introverts—you will pick up clues that can help you make your next questions even more interesting to answer. “Follow-on questions will help you feel confident as a conversation partner while helping the other person to be a good raconteur,” Raider says. As an introvert you can learn to thrive in the experience of networking more than you might ever have imagined as your introversion can be harnessed as a networking superpower.”
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