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An Introvert’s Networking Tips for the Introvert

An Introvert’s Networking Tips for the Introvert
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by Leticia Garay

Networking: probably the scariest word for an introvert in the workplace to hear. As a college student and early professional, I hated hearing the “75-80% of all jobs are earned through networking” statistic because it reminded me how much harder job searching would be for an introvert like myself. So I’ll be honest, I never thought I could make networking work for me because I never imagined I could network. However, I got this internship through networking. 


I’ve spent most of my early professional life avoiding networking or being the wallflower because it always felt self-interested, forced, and awkward. Also, when you’re a recent college graduate, you might not even know how to network. However, now that I’m in an MBA program where networking is the name of the game, I’ve converted my introverted quirks into my networking strengths. So how does the quieter and maybe even, awkward introvert network? Here are some networking tips on how to network as an introvert.


  1. There’s power in numbers. Ask your friends, especially your extroverted ones, if they are going to the same eventsThis way, they can facilitate introductions, conversation, and be an unofficial “mentor” on how to interact with strangers. Use your introvert superpowers to notice how your friends start conversations and what types of openers or introductions seem to work best. Having friends at networking events also help alleviate some social anxiety (thank you pep talks!) and help you preserve some of that precious social battery for the conversations that you actually want to invest in. 
  2. So now that you have an idea of what to expect, it’s time to start implementing some of those conversational tips you observed, starting with your elevator pitch. Knowing your elevator pitch is a good tip for any person, introvert or not, but it’s especially helpful to have down as an introvert because it gives that extra confidence boost we so desperately need to make the rest of the conversation go smoothly. Don’t worry about being pitch perfect- you just need to know the main handful of points you want to make so you don’t panic. Identifying your pitch will also help you pinpoint your reason for being at the event. Are you looking for a new job? Looking to switch industries? Just trying to make networking a new hobby *wink*? Once you can personally answer these questions, you’ll have a better idea of how to redirect conversations or narrow down the questions to ask.
  3. Crowded rooms, names you won’t remember, incessant chatter. These are the things you typically associate with networking and it can be overwhelming. What if I told you that the essence of networking is one-on-one conversations? The trick is to actually have a conversation with the person in front of you instead of with the little voice in your head panicking about what to say next.
    1. Tip for remembering names and conversations: use your technology! I write down names, titles, companies, and interesting conversational topics in my Notes app so I have something to refer to when following up with my new friends after the event. If you’re feeling bold, channel your inner influencer and ask for a LinkedIn add as you're closing your conversation. Building your network on social sites is another part of networking and a great alternative to the traditional conversation in the conference room approach- just remember to do some research before connecting online!
  4. One of the best ways to network is by helping others network. People don’t remember what you say but how you make them feel so if you can show that you’re helpful, people are more likely to remember you positively, even if you don’t have too much to say. So how do you help others network? Just ask questions. Instead of panicking about what to say next, use your active listening skills and be genuinely curious about this person by asking questions. You can always introduce people to one another. For example, I met a student services professional and about an hour later, I ran into another professional who needed some advice as it related to student services. When I met the latter, I mentioned the first professional and even did an introduction. 
  5. If you’re a recent college graduate or early professional, don’t be shy about letting people know! More often than not, people are really eager to help mentor or even give you some on the spot advice about job searching, career exploration, or even networking. Also, being upfront about this takes a lot of the pressure to be super “polished” or “perfect” out of the way because people understand it’s a new experience for you.


Some reminders to reassure your restless introverted mind:

  1. Remember that no one pays as much attention to your mistakes as you do. So that little stutter you had or fumble in your introduction? Chances are, most people didn’t really linger on it or even notice it. Don’t dwell on it.
  2. It’s okay to not always be talking. You don’t have to provide a comment for every single thing. Be confident that when you have something to say, it will be something beneficial to the conversation. Remember, quality over quantity.
  3. Practice makes perfect. Practice also makes you more comfortable, which is really what most introverts need in order to be their delightful self. 


The last piece of advice is be proud of yourself for showing up! Learning how to network as an introvert is a process but you’re putting yourself out there and learning something new, whether it’s for career exploration, career pivots, or job/ internship searching. Whether you’re a recent college graduate, an early professional, or an experienced professional, be proud, show yourself some grace for your learning curve, and make sure you honor yourself by recharging afterwards, introvert-style.So if you need to binge watch Netflix for a couple of days afterwards, go for it, I won’t judge.


For more networking tips: 



Article written by Leticia Garay