Networking for Introverts – 5 Strategies

The most unlikely people are introverts, you’d be surprised. I’m neither an introvert or an extrovert, I’m an ambivert, but I’ll explain what that is later.

It seems though that there is so much pressure for introverts and ambiverts to be extroverts, but you don’t have to be.

You also don’t have to put yourself through hell either, it’s all about accepting your limits.

networking for introverts pin

Firstly, when it comes to public speaking, don’t do what I did. I worked at a university and taught international students about working in Australia. My early public speaking started in a lecture theatre in front of a huge group of students. It was debilitating, I felt physically sick leading up to each of my lectures. In hindsight, this was not the best approach to getting comfortable with public speaking.

Instead, start small and with a few people. DON’T throw yourself onto a stage!

And when I say a few people, I mean a few of your friends or family members and then build from there.

As you move along you will eventually start to become desensitised, you will start to build strength and stamina and eventually, you’ll forget about the eyes that are watching you.

Another tip, try your very best to find the people in the audience that are happy, that are smiling…not someone who looks bored or is yawning. It’s still embedded in my mind the look on a particular man’s face when I was delivering a lecture, he was yawning, his body language said it all, and it completely threw me off.

More tips on networking for introverts:

Choose your business or career wisely

It’s so easy to be enticed by an awesome salary, by the thought of having an amazing office that overlooks the city…but is the job a good fit for your personality? Does having that salary or high flying office mean you have to continuously step outside your comfort zone and put yourself through anxiety? Is it really worth it? Try and choose a line of work that fits you, that makes you feel comfortable and puts you through less unnecessary stress. Doing something that you’re passionate about will also make it easier because you’re in your comfort zone and it wouldn’t be your passion if you weren’t comfortable with it.

Set yourself an allowance

Ever felt as though you’d prefer to stay at home in your PJ’s curled up on the couch with a nice glass of wine in hand and a good movie instead of attending a party or networking event? I have plenty of times. Why not try setting yourself an allowance, a set number of events you agree to attend each week/each month. For example, ‘5 times a month I will attend networking events for work.’ Doing this makes decision-making a lot easier and you’ll feel less guilty with yourself.

The power of one

Don’t feel the need to work the room, to network with every single person that walks through the door. It’s not about who gets the most business cards, it’s about who you make a connection with. If you only come out meeting and connecting with one person, that is a win and better than meeting heaps of people but not connecting with any of them on a deeper level.

Find a partner

You don’t have to do networking alone, find a partner. Perhaps your perfect partner might be a co-worker who you connect with or a friend with the same temperament and similar skill sets. They will be your support system.

It’s OK to leave early

This is a point I can very easily relate to. There have been many times at social events where I can enjoy talking and then bam, I hit the wall, I hit my breaking point and I simply want to go home. I have no more to give.

I think it’s really important to remember, especially for introverts, that when this happens it’s OK to leave early. If you’re with friends and family, they know you and will understand that this is all part of who you are. If you feel really guilty about doing it, take a break. Step outside, get a coffee, sit down and then re-engage when you’re ready.

Remember Gandhi

Gandhi was a very shy man and said that it was his greatest source of strength. Apparently when he was young he used to run home after school as fast as he could because he didn’t want to socialise with any of the other kids.

‘In a gentle way, you can shape the world.’ -Gandhi [tweetthis twitter_handles=”@TheMTWoman”]In a gentle way, you can shape the world. -Gandhi[/tweetthis]

networking for introverts
Remember I mentioned I am an Ambivert? Well here are some definitions thanks to Quiet Revolution. Which one are you?

Ambivert

An Ambivert is smack in the middle of the introvert-extrovert spectrum. In many ways, ambiverts have the best of both worlds, able to tap into the strengths of both introverts and extroverts as needed.

Introvert

Given the choice, introverts will devote their social energy to a small group of people they care about most, preferring a glass of wine with a close friend to a party full of strangers. Introverts think before they speak, have a more deliberate approach to risk, and enjoy solitude. They feel energized when focusing deeply on a subject or activity that really interests them. When they’re in overly stimulating environments (too loud, too crowded, etc.), they tend to feel overwhelmed. They seek out environments of peace, sanctuary, and beauty; they have an active inner life and are at their best when they tap into its riches.

Extrovert

Extroverts relish social life and are energized by interacting with friends and strangers alike. They’re typically assertive, go-getting, and able to seize the day. Extroverts are great at thinking on their feet; they’re relatively comfortable with conflict. Given the choice, extroverts usually prefer more stimulating environments that give them frequent opportunities to see and speak with others. When they’re in quiet environments, they’re prone to feeling bored and restless. They are actively engaged in the world around them and at their best when tapping into its energy.

Have you tried any of these strategies to help with your networking? What strategy helps you the most?

Eva Lewis (The Multitasking Woman)

Eva is the Editor and Owner of The Multitasking Woman - a lifestyle and parenting blog.She always has her fingers in many different pies but wouldn't have it any other way. Eva is a Mum to her 4-year-old son, 2 month old daughter, two chickens, one dog and a fish called Bob and a wife to Mr G. They all live happily in their little cottage on the outskirts of Brisbane.

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11 Comments

    • October 20, 2015 / 9:37 am

      Haha…actually, when I was researching for this post I didn’t know about an ambivert either. I knew I wasn’t an introvert all the time but had some of the characteristics and I also knew that at times I was an extrovert too…so this explains it!

  1. October 20, 2015 / 10:14 am

    Based on that test I am an introvert though I must say with people I know really well (like at work) I am really outgoing so it depends on the situation. Chuck me in a roomful of people I don’t know and I’ll be the quiet one! Until I get a few drinks in me that is, then I become an extrovert! Haha. #TeamIBOT
    Haidee@Maybe Baby Brothers recently posted…Toilet Training: Driving Parents to Insanity WorldwideMy Profile

  2. October 20, 2015 / 6:35 pm

    Love, love love the new look site, for starters! This is a great article, and one I can very much relate to as an intovert myself. Socially I’m very outgoing, but my tendency is to not want to go out and I find it really draining. I have fun once I’m out but have to know my limits as well. Great post!

  3. October 20, 2015 / 9:18 pm

    Oh wow, finally a name for what I am: an ambivert!!!! In those psychological profile / quiz thingies, I tend to come up on the side of an Extrovert but only just. Funnily enough I think the hubster is an ambivert as well!
    Janet aka Middle Aged Mama recently posted…Should Adult Kids Pay Board?My Profile

  4. October 20, 2015 / 9:53 pm

    Hey, multitasking woman! The new site looks awesome.
    Great post. I’m an introvert, but I found out recently when I did the Myers Briggs test again that I am becoming less introverted with age. I guess when you continually expose yourself to situations where you have to run workshops, or interview people etc, you become a little more used to put yourself out there. I do find it incredibly draining though and would much rather stay in my little cocoon 🙂
    Renee Wilson recently posted…Kids birthday cakes for dummiesMy Profile

  5. October 20, 2015 / 10:30 pm

    You new page is looking clean slick and professional. Your logo is cool. Very exciting for you. I think I am mostly an introvert. However there can be days when I can flirt with the extrovert side all depends on my mood ! Great tips you have put together.
    Druimé@SnippetsandSpirits.com recently posted…Eleven Nice ThingsMy Profile

  6. October 21, 2015 / 12:20 am

    Fascinating! I’ve never heard of an ambivert! I think I sit somewhere around there but possibly a little over on the extrovert side. I love your tips for networking. It’s great to have a strategy to help you improve but not overwhelm yourself
    Liz recently posted…Yoga in my lifeMy Profile

  7. October 21, 2015 / 1:43 pm

    I think I am also smack bang in the middle, it depends on the situation for me. I have been both at different times of my life. Not sure how I am going to go speaking at our event next month, but I’m leaning on the old confident me to find a way xx
    Nicole @ The Builder’s Wife recently posted…Pen Y Llechwedd-An UpdateMy Profile

  8. Cindy@ Your kids OT
    October 21, 2015 / 10:03 pm

    There you go, I think I’m an ambivert or maybe a swinging pendulum between extrovert and introvert. Certain situations make me want to retreat into my shell and at other times I’m quite happy to take the mike and work the room. Depends on the audience I think for me.