In a training session for a previous job, I arranged for a colleague to speak on a number of topics, including networking. Toward the end of his talk, he said, “I hope that was helpful. I’m not sure why you asked me to speak about networking since I’m a pretty big introvert.”
He was downplaying his skill in networking. The reason he’d been asked to speak on the subject is because he’s very good at it, despite being introverted. Many of the people he was speaking to were introverts, so it was helpful for them to get an introverts guide to networking.
I don’t have a copy of my colleague’s presentation, but I did find some networking tips for introverts on the weekend.
As an introvert who is often nervous about attending networking events, I find these tips useful, especially the first one:
If networking events make you nervous, don’t psych yourself out with unrealistic expectations. You may not meet 20 new contacts or impress others with your best joke — and that’s okay. One quality conversation is more beneficial than 20 superficial ones.
That’s a key takeaway. You don’t need to meet everyone at the mixer. You just need to meet two or three people, make a meaningful connection, and then nurture that connection after the event is over. After all, superficial connections are worthless when you need to call in a favour from your network (and you’ll be less willing to do them a favour when they ask).
Note: A shorter version of this post was previously published on my personal blog, but I figured it made at least as much sense to post on my professional site. If you subscribe to both blogs, sorry for the double post!