Networking is essential for those looking to jumpstart their career or switch fields. However, networking has become a loose term thrown around a lot with little understanding by the people who can benefit the most from it. If you’re especially shy, networking can be a daunting and challenging thing to do. Fortunately, we’ve come up with specific guidelines for networking for shy people:
Networking for Shy People Tip #1: Put your focus on the other person.
At a networking event, Dr. Miriam Reiss, MCC, of the Institute for Coaching, suggests you "put your focus on the other person. If you’re thinking about how you look, how you feel or what you’re saying, that will only make you more self-conscious!" Don’t just act like a robot and have a closed dialogue in your head – have a real conversation!
Networking for Shy People Tip #2: Be Prepared.
Depending on what kind of networking you’re doing, preparation will vary. For example, if you’re networking for new business, make sure you work on your 30-second pitch and have concise answers to the basic Q&A’s that prospective partners or clients might ask. If you’re networking to find a new job, you need to practice typical questions like "what do you do at your current job/school?" and "why do you want to work for company X?"
Networking for Shy People Tip #3: Create a Goal.
Before going to a networking event or making contact with a specific employer, have a goal in mind. For networking events, set goals like making five great connections or having eight different conversations. For a one on one contact, make a specific goal such as having him/her give you advice or a referral to a prospective employer.
Networking for Shy People Tip #4: Follow Up
Stay in contact with people you meet. During your conversations, make mental notes of what you spoke about and find reasons to follow up with them. Sometimes shy people think that the other person won’t want to hear from them; however, you shouldn’t assume that potential connections won’t be interested in what you have to say. This is exactly the type of self-advice you do not want to heed. Oftentimes a shy person may say this to themselves to avoid potentially facing rejection or no response. Your job is to act in the face of these self doubts and self-defeating talk.
Networking for Shy People Tip #5: Don’t just think about what’s in it for me.
A good networker is always thinking about how they can help the other person—even if he or she is networking for a job. Perhaps you meet someone and you find what they are up to or what they are looking for. They are networking too—so they want or need something! Find out what it is and see if you can help.
For more on these tips, you can check out: http://bit.ly/u9IprV.