Daily Tip: Networking for Folks Who Hate Networking

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Everybody always says that the best way to build out your professional connections is to network as much as humanly possible. But many shy people would rather walk over a hundred yards of broken glass than strike up conversation after conversation with strangers. Fortunately, a few simple tips can make networking a little easier for introverts and others who hate to schmooze:

Smile: When you smile, you attract people to you. A smile suggests confidence. There’s even some scientific research that suggests smiling will make you happier. So the next time you’re trapped at a networking event, flash those pearly whites.

Prepare Questions in Advance: There’s nothing worse than starting a conversation with someone new and realizing you’re tongue-tied. Prepping a couple standard-issue questions in advance (“How long have you been at your job?” for example, or, “What do you like about your role?”) can help you avoid this pitfall. It’ll also help to prepare some answers to those questions, because chances are pretty good someone will ask you some variant of the same things.

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Prepare to Explain What You Do: Nobody likes someone who drones on and on about his or her job, but you should prepare a concise, interesting explanation of what you do—because that’s definitely something you’ll be asked at networking events.

Set a Goal: Try and step outside your comfort zone. Tell yourself that you can’t leave a networking event until you speak to one person, or three, or five. Commit to expanding on that goal at every subsequent event. You might just surprise yourself at how far you can go.

Follow Up: There’s no sense in committing a lot of effort to networking if you never follow up with the connections you’ve made. Make it a point to reach out to new contacts via social media, email, or even phone.

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3 Responses to “Daily Tip: Networking for Folks Who Hate Networking”

  1. Kudos on addressing this issue. You must have read the comments to a previous article proclaiming that you can become a success in everything—all you have to do is network. So many of the comments indicated that true computer geeks are not very social and have a hard time in network-type venues. I think you helped give some tips to deal with some of that discomfort. thanks (now if I can just overcome my fear of going to these social gatherings in the first place, not to mention having to pay for many of them!)

  2. anonymous

    A good article with several points. I’d say that I do absolutely loathe networking in all forms, in-person or online.

    I have an ongoing problem with collection agencies (please don’t lecture me, I’ve heard it all), and that influences my networking. I’ve seen jobs posted at places such as Dice which turned out to be IT positions at CA’s that were currently (at the time) harassing me. That being said, I am always reluctant to post openly my phone number and/or my address, thus giving them another opening to harass me. I worry about these CA’s scraping personal web pages, blogs, Facebook, and even LinkedIn…..and random friendship requests that turn out to be a CA agent.