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How do introverts approach networking?

I'm a bit shy so I'd love advice about how to network.

Asked by Jim
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5 Answers

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A super valuable thing I learned was that although everyone at an event may look like they've known each other since kindergarten – they haven't! With that in mind, I usually find that it's ok to just jump into a conversation, of course assuming that it doesn't look like they're discussing something super serious/personal.

The question from there is, well how do I jump in? EASY! Just say, "Hey! I figured since we're all here trying to meet people, do y'all mind if I jump in your conversation? Please, carry on – I'm just curious to hear what y'all are discussing!" If you acknowledge that you're breaking into their conversation it makes it much less awkward, and once you're in the conversation, make sure to ask questions to keep the conversation flowing. Once it's flowing you're good to go! Hope this helps!

Answered by VanessaUniversity of Maryland-Baltimore County
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Go with a close friend or a coworker who can help you start conversations. Be sure to go with someone that's understanding and will help you branch out.

Answered by AngelaUniversity of Vermont
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Have a bunch of questions you rely on, so if you feel stuck or there's awkward silence, you have something to rely on.

Answered by DavidHarvard University
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As an introvert myself, I have found that a lot of people are just as nervous as you are. Often times instead of approaching a new individual they will cluster up in groups, which doesn't mean they're all friends. I like to do a rough introduction to everyone and then making individual introductions people who seem accepting of a new face. Those people will be more likely to introduce you to the people who appear less interested.

Answered by SierraLivingstone College
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Mary In networking situations I think it is always best to introduce your self to everyone around you. This will make sure that you can join in any conversation throughout the evening. At the end of the day, everyone is there for the same reason.
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Go in with an open mind to learn and realize that most people there are also probably as nervous about talking to new people as you. One of the best things I like to keep in mind is that people tend to believe/perceive who you are as a person by the way you choose to present yourself. If you put on a smiling and welcoming face that's eager to forward a conversation, they will see that and recognize it. I'm very anxious when it comes to approaching new people, so I convince myself to enjoy the uncomfortable feeling of being vulnerable. Whether it's awkward at first or not, becoming comfortable with being uncomfortable will help you get used to coming out of your shell. Best of luck! :)

Answered by ChristopherUniversity of South Carolina-Columbia
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