Networking for the Shy

by Sofia -EAS- on July 8, 2010 · 0 comments

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Networking is the process of getting connected in order to advance your career and utilizing the contacts made for the purpose of exchanging information, exploring careers, obtaining referrals and job searching. Since 70-80% of jobs are found through networking it often becomes difficult for introverted individuals to stand out against the competition and network successfully. Here are a few tips for the shy on being successful at networking:

1. Start small – start with known contacts and build up your comfort level; successful conversations will give you the  confidence to approach those not well known to you.

2. Stop apologizing – networking is not bothering someone, so you do not have to apologize, you are worth their time and you have to convey that message – apologizing demonstrates lack of confidence.

3. Discover the source of your shyness – identify what are your weaknesses and work to address them.

4. Be yourself – be authentic, people will remember you for being you; do not be a schmoozer.

5. Tap into your passions - when you talk about things you are passionate about, you will lighten up and appear more  engaging – you will not always find a shared interest with the other person, you just have to share your interests.

6. Ask for introductions – shy people tend to find one person with whom they spend all their time at an event with and this defeats the purpose of networking – ask the friend to introduce you to people they know.

7. Be generous – show sincere interest and use some flattery but do not overdo it (ex. “your organization has such high reputation and wonderful programs that service our community”).

8. Be prepared – create a personal commercial and have it ready to pitch, anticipate questions you may be asked and have clear and concise answers ready.

9. Follow-up – helps build credibility and professionalism (ex. “if you say you will send them a copy of a newsletter you developed, send it when you say you will”). It conveys the message you are reliable and keep your word.

10. Get over your fear of rejection – do not take it personal if people do not want to help you, or if they are not pleasant when you approach them. Pick yourself up and try again.

11. Take risks - approach persons you normally would not have the courage to approach (ex. the person sitting next to you at an event will appreciate you breaking the ice. They might also be the director of a company you would love to work for). Take every situation as an opportunity.

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