by Lou DeRosa
Everyone can network – even introverts.
Let’s define networking. According to Miriam-Webster Dictionary, networking is “the exchange of information or services among individuals, groups, or institutions; specifically: the cultivation of productive relationships for employment or business.”
Networking is a two-way street. It’s a way of getting to know someone better and the ways they might be able to help or connect you—and helping them in return. Every person out there is a complete world of their own with knowledge of things we may have no idea even exist, so it’s good to network with them.
But for introverts, the thought of striking up a conversation with a stranger at a party or conference may feel exhausting. Not to fear! Even if you’re an introvert, you can become a successful networker.
Here are 3 ways to network well, even for introverts:
1. Leverage social media. Social media is a great way to get to know important contacts better, without the pressure to find someone to engage at a conference or meeting “networking hour.” Seek out like-minded or key contacts you’d like to know better on Twitter, LinkedIn, Google Plus and more and try commenting on a link they post or responding to a comment they make. Start having conversations with them – real conversations – and offer them value in return (i.e. share a blog post they write, or offer positive feedback on something they’ve done). Again, keep it real, genuine and positive. Then, when you have the opportunity to meet them in person—say, for coffee or at an industry meeting—it will be easier to continue the online conversation you’ve had offline.
2. Introduce yourself to people in your proximity at industry meetings or conferences. Networking doesn’t ...