The thought of networking can cause many people worry and anxiety especially when they are shy. However, networking is not all about working the crowd. People who are considered to be introverts have many qualities that they can take advantage of. Shy individuals tend to be better listeners. They will usually think before they speak and they tend to enjoy conversations that are one-on-one.
Since the crux of networking is building relationships, one-on-one interactions or using online social media networks is ideal for the shy person. Believe it! You can build a strong network even if you are an introvert.
Going up to someone and asking for help may terrify you, so this would not be the ideal approach for you. For the shy person, an opportunity may present itself where you can offer to help someone. It may be easier for you to give something than to ask. If you approach a networking conversation as a reciprocal exchange of information or services, as opposed to a one-way street, this may help you overcome your hesitation or discomfort.
To widen your networking goals, why not volunteer your services and expertise? Instead of trying to fit in at a professional association meeting, why not help organize the meeting? There are a lot of people that find it much easier to be friendly while participating as opposed to chitchatting.You are still getting to know people, but in these situations, you become part of the team as opposed to an outsider.
Shy individuals have a tendency to procrastinate when it comes to attending large events. It can be intimidating to arrive at a conference or function when the groups are already formed. You should try to get to the group event early. You will oftentimes find individuals that will be happy to have someone they can talk to. By the time other members or guests arrive, you will already be part of a group.
Set Realistic Goals
You don’t have to meet everyone at the conference or networking function. Set realistic goals for yourself such as speaking to four new people. This way, if you achieve your objectives, you will be satisfied with how you did and will not feel like you underachieved.
Social media networking is ideal for people who are introverted or shy. You can connect with people online and get to know them before meeting them in person.
If you are frightened by large groups, arrange one-on-one meetings. If you are a member of a professional organization, pick a few members and set up lunch appointments.
If you don’t want to be the focus of attention, ask questions. You will direct the attention on the other person and this will give you the opportunity to soak in the information that comes your way.
by John Sylo