In the business world, being an introvert can make growing and thriving more difficult than it may be for more naturally social people.
Luckily, there are plenty of ways to get yourself out there without forcing yourself into massive face-to-face networking events.
Want to learn how to network like a pro?
Keep reading our quick list of networking ideas for introverts.
1. Join Online Groups
One of the easiest ways to get your feet wet in networking is to seek out and join online groups that are relevant to your industry.
Once you find and join these groups aim to be an active member of them. Share helpful links to articles that are relevant to your work and comment on discussion threads.
Don’t be afraid to use these online groups as starting places for some of your professional relationships. If there’s someone in particular you think could be a good contact to have, shoot them a private message once you’ve interacted a few times in the group setting. It never hurts to put yourself out there.
2. Have a Good Profile Picture
The phrase “a picture is worth a thousand words” rings true when it comes to profile pictures on your social media profiles.
Especially on sites like LinkedIn, putting a presentable and professional face to your name can make a bigger impact than one may think.
When HR professionals and recruiting personnel are browsing through profile after profile, they want to be able to clearly see who they’re looking at. Profiles with clear photos of themselves on them are seven times more likely to be engaged with than profiles that don’t have a photo.
Don’t allow yourself to be another anonymous profile that gets passed over. Grab a friend and get some professional photos taken, and make sure you’re smiling! People who are smiling are often perceived as more likable and competent, according to a study done by Penn State University.
3. Keep Your LinkedIn Up To Date
Speaking of LinkedIn, you should make sure that your profile photo isn’t the only thing that’s up-to-date.
Again, when HR professionals and recruiters are scouring the depths of LinkedIn, they’re more likely to interact with profiles that have been filled out fully.
Make sure all of your basic information, past and current jobs, educational history, skills, and a few endorsements at the minimum are displayed. Doing this will not only give people looking at your profile a better idea of who you are, but it will also boost your profile within search results as well.
4. Make a Professional Twitter
You don’t have to be a social media strategist to run a decent social media profile that tells the world who you are.
One of the best platforms outside of LinkedIn is Twitter, so if you’re not there already you should be. Use Twitter to share a little bit more in-depth about yourself and your passions.
Some tips for using Twitter include sharing article links and other relevant information to your niche. Utilizing hashtags that are relevant to your industry to get your tweets seen and seek out new people to follow is also helpful. If at all possible, avoid overly personal sharing or excessively tweeting all day every day.
Bottom line: be yourself, but keep it professional.
5. Set Goals You Can Attain
It can be easy to fall into the trap of thinking that going to a networking event means that you have to talk to everyone in the room, but that isn’t true.
Set goals for yourself that you can achieve without pushing yourself too far out of your comfort zone.
Try setting small goals like aiming to introduce yourself to at least 10 people, making sure you give out at least 10 to 15 business cards, or having at least 3 meaningful conversations per event. When it comes to networking, quality over quantity wins every time.
6. Plan Ahead
Another good strategy for successfully making it through networking events is to thoroughly plan ahead of time.
Before you ever step into a room have an idea of some good icebreakers and some fall back open-ended questions that you can ask. Consider asking questions like: “What’s your favorite thing about your company?” or “How did you decide to do what you do?”
Another good idea is to practice your pitch and have one or two minutes prepared in the case you need to talk about yourself. This pitch should include some basic information about yourself and your job and what your career goals.
7. Bargain With Yourself
If you have to, set a time limit and make a bargain with yourself that you’ll go if you can leave after half an hour.
This should help calm your nerves and gives you a set time so you can focus on making it to that time mark.
8. Choose the Right Events
If you know that you clam up in large crowds, don’t pick the biggest meetup available. Start slow and attend smaller events that fit into your comfort zone and build up from there.
9. Follow Up
Don’t let the relationships you make using these networking ideas fall off after you go home. Follow up with the people you meet!
A simple email letting them know that you enjoyed meeting them and thanking them for their time will suffice. Another thing you can consider doing is sending them a connection request on LinkedIn to grow your network while you’re at it. If you really want to make an impression, send a hand-written thank you note.
10. Take a Friend
You should avoid clinging to one person during the entire event or introducing yourselves in pairs, but having a buddy with you can help reduce the initial awkwardness walking into a room full of people you don’t know.
If you take a friend, have a plan to split up and do your own thing and then come back together when you leave.
Introverts Can Thrive With These Networking Ideas
Take your future into your own hands and put these networking ideas for introverts to good use.
While you’re growing in your personal success, check out these common struggles and how to overcome them.
If you found these networking ideas helpful, share this article with your friends on social media using the quick share links below!