Introvert or extrovert we know networking is a must for any professional to advance and move quickly up the career ladder.it helps you get more leads and find new customers as a businesswoman or a corporate executive. It also helps you find mentors, sponsors, jobs, and helps you connect with senior executives and people in positions of power and influence; all of which can transform your career experience. However, networking does not come naturally to introverts, especially when it comes to meeting and engaging with new people. So, here are a few things you may want to try to help you up your game when it comes to ‘one of the things’ you dread most as an introvert.
Fill Your Knowledge Bank.
We are naturally drawn to knowledgeable people. Jim Rohn one of America’s self-made millionaire and motivational speaker advised that in order to be a better communicator, you should invest in your knowledge bank. What is the connection between networking and communication? A good foundation to start long-lasting relationships can be conversations or a simple act of kindness. Fill your knowledge bank so you have topics you can discuss. Learn something new. Stay current with the news and global topics or trends. This will afford you the opportunity to contribute, start or follow a conversation when you are with someone new or in a social event.
Increase Your Confidence Level
It may seem as though your personality is hampering you from fully expressing yourself and being outgoing when you meet people. Sometimes it is just an issue of confidence at play here. What do you do? Fake it until you make it. Chinwe Egwim a Macroeconomic and Fixed Income Securities Analyst with FBN Capital in an Instagram live session with Glory Edozien a Career Coach advises introverts like herself who find it difficult engaging with people to “put on a character to help you through it, like an alter ego”. Other things you may want to add to boost your confidence include: looking the part (the way you look can boost your confidence level), paying attention to details, being aware of industry trends and current events, etc.
Take Advantage of Social Media
As an introvert, do you still hide behind the curtain when it comes to social media? Ditch the fear and write away! Make comments on the posts of people you will like to connect with, share your thoughts on something trending or something you observed or learnt or achieved. People will definitely engage and make sure you respond in return, and before you know it, connections are being established and new relationships built.
Many professionals advise that networking should be seen as a mutually rewarding relationship. Initially, this might not seem so for an introvert. Let’s re-frame this; seek to add value first and things will naturally take its course—the dividends will pay off. So ask yourself, ‘what does this connection need or what are my strengths and in what ways can I use them to add value to x and y relationships?’ A good way to start is to give. Give your time, resources, attention, share information etc
Have One on One Meetings
If it feels daunting to make connections in a room full of people, try one on one meetings. Many introverts have identified this strategy as one that works for them. I attended an only women event sometime ago, on my way commuting to another event, I met one of the attendees. She recognized me from the event because I was one of those who arrived early and was given a price. She introduced herself and we got talking. The rest is history today. She told me she wasn’t able to talk to a single person at the event. Having met me in a bus, she felt safer to strike a conversation.
Improve on Yourself
I believe there is nothing we can not improve on as humans and as women especially. Networking is about making connections with people. Life, work and business are all activities we do with people. Starting and nurturing human relationships is essentiall for your life to thrive. Take it at your pace.
As an introvert when you meet someone new, start from your place of strength, start small.Be curious to learn about them and seek things that connect you both by asking questions or sincerely complimenting them. That is a simple way to start. Research on conversation starters, read and watch videos that will help you build your interactive skills. Your personal and professional life will be fluid when you get better at interacting with people. You can do it!
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