Advertising
Advertising

8 Tips For Introverts To Overcome Networking Dread

8 Tips For Introverts To Overcome Networking Dread

Being able to network is one of the most important skills you can have in today’s business world. Of course, not everyone has the outgoing personality that makes networking second nature. Introverts in particular might have a tough time when faced with a crowd of unknown people, as they tend to keep to themselves and despise small talk. However, there are many ways introverts can use their personality to their advantage which may not seem obvious at first, but will ultimately lead to successful networking sessions.

1. Practice and Rehearse

The most introverted among us have to practice even the most simple interactions. I know that even when I make a phone call to a pizza place I have to repeat my order aloud a few times before actually dialling the number. Before a networking session, it’s important for introverts to know exactly how they’re going to present themselves, and what they’re going to say. Of course, you don’t want to sound robotic, but you don’t want to get caught making awkward pauses and using too many “um’s” and “uh’s.”

Advertising

2. Do your research

Along with practicing what you’re going to say, introverts should also research the people they’ll be meeting. I don’t mean you should stalk them out on Facebook or anything, but having specific talking points for each individual you meet will certainly put you at an advantage. Instead of going into a networking session blind, know what position people hold, any awards they’ve won, or anything else you can find out about them through the company’s webpage. Again, you’ll avoid awkward pauses and dead spots in conversation, and you’ll impress the company with how much you already know about them.

3. Keep conversations short and simple

You also don’t want to let conversations go too long. Introduce yourself, discuss the important talking points you’ve planned in advance, and move on to another introduction. Don’t let the conversation get stale, as you don’t want to end up panicking when you run out of things to talk about. Again, don’t be robotic, but don’t make it obvious that you painstakingly planned out every word that comes out of your mouth. You don’t want to appear phony, either.

Advertising

4. Focus on your strengths

As an introvert, you most likely have a ton of strengths that you never gloat about. Now isn’t the time to hide your skills and abilities. Do your best to bring up past accomplishments and future goals, showing everyone that you have the ambition and drive that would make you an asset to the company.

5. Bring a colleague

It might help if you bring a work friend along, as well. Maybe they know some of the people that will be there, giving you an “in” with them. Maybe you might know someone they don’t, and it’ll look good for you if you’re able to connect others as well. At the very least, it can’t hurt to have someone to talk to during dead times — that way, you won’t look like you’re completely alone and unapproachable.

Advertising

6. Draw others to you

As I just mentioned, you want to be approachable. Don’t stand off in the corner waiting for others to come to you, and definitely do your best to not look bored or nervous. Your body language says a lot about who you are as a person. Make eye contact with everyone you come across, and make sure to smile and nod throughout the networking session. As an introvert, it’s definitely hard to invite people into your world, but it’s absolutely necessary when trying to further your career.

7. Listen carefully

Listening is an introvert’s strong suit, so put it to good use. Take stock of everything that’s said to you throughout the session, and take note of who said what. Notice the little things, such as if a person discusses his interest in a certain sports team or music genre. Showing that you pay attention to details will go a long way.

Advertising

8. Form close relationships

Since you’ve listened closely to everything everyone has said, you can follow up at a later time with those you feel you have common bonds with. Again, this is another strength of the common introvert. Although it’s difficult to put yourself out there, it’s much easier to make close connections with those who share your interests and viewpoints. Seek these people out in the days following a networking session, and make sure they know just how much you appreciated their company.

Featured photo credit: Social Networking: Ninjacam / Dave Fayram via farm3.staticflickr.com

More by this author

7 Public Speaking Techniques To Help Connect With Your Audience 20 Little Signs You’ve Found The One 8 Signs of a Man Who Will Never Ever Stop Loving You 8 Things To Remember When Dating Someone With A Guarded Heart 14 Signs You’re Not Drinking Enough Water

Trending in Communication

1 Signs Of Low Self-Esteem And The Root Causes You Might Not Know 2 How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship 3 How to Live in the Moment and Stop Worrying About the Past or Future 4 19 Golden Pieces of Relationship Advice From the Experts 5 This Is What Happens When You Move Out Of the Comfort Zone

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on May 21, 2019

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

For all our social media bravado, we live in a society where communication is seen less as an art, and more as a perfunctory exercise. We spend so much time with people, yet we struggle with how to meaningfully communicate.

If you believe you have mastered effective communication, scan the list below and see whether you can see yourself in any of the examples:

Example 1

You are uncomfortable with a person’s actions or comments, and rather than telling the individual immediately, you sidestep the issue and attempt to move on as though the offending behavior or comment never happened.

You move on with the relationship and develop a pattern of not addressing challenging situations. Before long, the person with whom you are in relationship will say or do something that pushes you over the top and predictably, you explode or withdraw completely from the relationship.

In this example, hard-to-speak truths become never- expressed truths that turn into resentment and anger.

Example 2

You communicate from the head and without emotion. While what you communicate makes perfect sense to you, it comes across as cold because it lacks emotion.

People do not understand what motivates you to say what you say, and without sharing your feelings and emotions, others experience you as rude, cold or aggressive.

You will know this is a problem if people shy away from you, ignore your contributions in meetings or tell you your words hurt. You can also know you struggle in this area if you find yourself constantly apologizing for things you have said.

Example 3

You have an issue with one person, but you communicate your problem to an entirely different person.

Advertising

The person in whom you confide lacks the authority to resolve the matter troubling you, and while you have vented and expressed frustration, the underlying challenge is unresolved.

Example 4

You grew up in a family with destructive communication habits and those habits play out in your current relationships.

Because you have never stopped to ask why you communicate the way you do and whether your communication style still works, you may lack understanding of how your words impact others and how to implement positive change.

If you find yourself in any of the situations described above, this article is for you.

Communication can build or decimate worlds and it is important we get it right. Regardless of your professional aspirations or personal goals, you can improve your communication skills if you:

  • Understand your own communication style
  • Tailor your style depending on the needs of the audience
  • Communicate with precision and care
  • Be mindful of your delivery, timing and messenger

1. Understand Your Communication Style

To communicate effectively, you must understand the communication legacy passed down from our parents, grandparents or caregivers. Each of us grew up with spoken and unspoken rules about communication.

In some families, direct communication is practiced and honored. In other families, family members are encouraged to shy away from difficult conversations. Some families appreciate open and frank dialogue and others do not. Other families practice silence about substantive matters, that is, they seldom or rarely broach difficult conversations at all.

Before you can appreciate the nuance required in communication, it helps to know the familial patterns you grew up with.

2. Learn Others Communication Styles

Communicating effectively requires you to take a step back, assess the intended recipient of your communication and think through how the individual prefers to be communicated with. Once you know this, you can tailor your message in a way that increases the likelihood of being heard. This also prevents you from assuming the way you communicate with one group is appropriate or right for all groups or people.

Advertising

If you are unsure how to determine the styles of the groups or persons with whom you are interacting, you can always ask them:

“How do you prefer to receive information?”

This approach requires listening, both to what the individuals say as well as what is unspoken. Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson noted that the best communicators are also great listeners.

To communicate effectively from relationship to relationship and situation to situation, you must understand the communication needs of others.

3. Exercise Precision and Care

A recent engagement underscored for me the importance of exercising care when communicating.

On a recent trip to Ohio, I decided to meet up with an old friend to go for a walk. As we strolled through the soccer park, my friend gently announced that he had something to talk about, he was upset with me. His introduction to the problem allowed me to mentally shift gears and prepare for the conversation.

Shortly after introducing the shift in conversation, my friend asked me why I didn’t invite him to the launch party for my business. He lives in Ohio and I live in the D.C. area.

I explained that the event snuck up on me, and I only started planning the invite list three weeks before the event. Due to the last-minute nature of the gathering, I opted to invite people in the DMV area versus my friends from outside the area – I didn’t want to be disrespectful by asking them to travel on such short notice.

I also noted that I didn’t want to be disappointed if he and others declined to come to the event. So I played it safe in terms of inviting people who were local.

Advertising

In the moment, I felt the conversation went very well. I also checked in with my friend a few days after our walk, affirmed my appreciation for his willingness to communicate his upset and our ability to work through it.

The way this conversation unfolded exemplified effective communication. My friend approached me with grace and vulnerability. He approached me with a level of curiosity that didn’t put me on my heels — I was able to really listen to what he was saying, apologize for how my decision impacted him and vow that going forward, I would always ask rather than making decisions for him and others.

Our relationship is intact, and I now have information that will help me become a better friend to him and others.

4. Be Mindful of Delivery, Timing and Messenger

Communicating effectively also requires thinking through the delivery of the message one intends to communicate as well as the appropriate time for the discussion.

In an Entrepreneur.com column, VIP Contributor Deep Patel, noted that persons interested in communicating well need to master the art of timing. Patel noted,[1]

“Great comedians, like all great communicators, are able to feel out their audience to determine when to move on to a new topic or when to reiterate an idea.”

Communicating effectively also requires thoughtfulness about the messenger. A person prone to dramatic, angry outbursts should never be called upon to deliver constructive feedback, especially to people whom they do not know. The immediate aftermath of a mass shooting is not the ideal time to talk about the importance of the Second Amendment rights.

Like everyone else, I must work to ensure my communication is layered with precision and care.

It requires precision because words must be carefully tailored to the person with whom you are speaking.

Advertising

It requires intentionality because before one communicates, one should think about the audience and what the audience needs in order to hear your message the way you intended it to be communicated.

It requires active listening which is about hearing verbal and nonverbal messages.

Even though we may be right in what we say, how we say it could derail the impact of the message and the other parties’ ability to hear the message.

Communicating with care is also about saying things that the people in our life need to hear and doing so with love.

The Bottom Line

When I left the meeting with my dear friend, I wondered if I was replicating or modeling this level of openness and transparency in the rest of my relationships.

I was intrigued and appreciative. He’d clearly thought about what he wanted to say to me, picked the appropriate time to share his feedback and then delivered it with care. He hit the ball out of the park and I’m hopeful we all do the same.

More Articles About Effective Communication

Featured photo credit: Kenan Buhic via unsplash.com

Reference

Read Next