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Networking for Introverts

Written by Guest Blogger February 18, 2014

Networking for Introverts

If you have met me then you probably know that I like people. I like to be around people. I like to laugh, talk, and socialize. What you may not know is that I get terribly nervous in big groups and around people that I do not know. I am a bit of an introvert in that sense. For example, if I do not know every single detail of an upcoming event, I do have a tendency to want to stay at home. By home, I mean my house, my office, my safe space. In my line of work as a Business Development Associate, that simply is not feasible. Therefore, I have created my go-to tips for successfully networking around your introverted tendencies.

  • 1. Make a friends list – Determine who you know that will already be attending. One thing that is always helpful for me is to coordinate with a friend ahead of time to meet up and perhaps go together or meet at the entrance. I know that it sounds silly but I absolutely hate walking into an event alone and then trying to figure out where everyone is.

  • 2. Make a prospect list – Determine who might be in attendance that you would like to meet. Often this can be done by looking at the sponsor list of the event or the board of directors/leadership of the presenting association or organization. I try to keep my target list small but very deliberate. I am not there to waste my time or the time of my prospects.

  • 3. Do your research – Often times I check out LinkedIn or other social media sites to see if I have connections in common with my prospects. Sometimes I ask for an introduction to be made at said event. I find this to be so much easier than a straight up cold “Hi, my name is Kelli and I would like to …..”

  • 4. Develop your “networking map” – Ok, so you have your allies there, you have your prospects, you have asked for an introduction, now what? Have an idea of what you would like to talk with these prospects about. Have they recently been recognized for an accomplishment? Say congratulations. Would you like to ask them to have coffee so you can learn about each other’s business? Tell them you would like to have coffee and would it be ok to call them next week.

  • 5. Write it down! – Keep track of who you spoke to and about what. You are not going to remember it. I don’t care if you think that you have the memory of an elephant. You won’t remember. WRITE IT DOWN! On a napkin, in your iPhone, on the back of their card if you have to. Trust me, it will be very helpful in step 6.

  • 6. Follow up – Now take the napkin on which you wrote down prospect #1’s conversation points on and send a follow up note, email, or better yet, place a phone call. Maybe it is simply a “nice to meet you”, or a “would you like to have coffee?”, but following up guarantees you do not get lost in the crowd. Oh, and if you do send a handwritten note (which I love!) send it on your company letterhead, to help keep the brand relative.

I hope that you found these tips helpful. I am not a fan of being caught off guard. Preparation is your biggest piece of armor when you are placed in situations that make you a little uncomfortable. Happy Networking, introverts!

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