When Networking Doesn't Come Naturally

Networking is a Two Way Street

Networking is not just for glad-handers and the gregarious. Anyone can network. Even shy, introverted people can master the art of introductions and expanding your circle of business contacts, colleagues and clients.

Think networking isn't in your DNA? Entrepreneur magazine debunks the notion that shy people aren't good at networking. Networking is a two-way street says the magazine in the article Networking as an Introvert, and introverts are often good listeners, more readily able to understand others needs. This tit for tat dynamic is the architecture of good networking.

Not sure how to get started? Take small steps at first, no need to make cold calls or attend events where you know no one; begin reaching out to neighbors or friends, or join organizations that reflect your passions. Remember to be yourself, networking doesn't mean being a stand up comic or the most extroverted person in the room.

A self-proclaimed introvert offers the following useful tips from the web site Work Buzz.

Introverts think to talk.

Focus on listening rather than self-promotion in initial job search conversations.

Carefully select what job search events to attend - target those of most interest.

Prepare specific questions to ask new contacts.

Prepare and practice aloud responses to frequently asked questions while on a job search.

Introverts drill deep.

Research the type of job most suited to you and focus your attention there, rather than dissipating your energy casting a wide net.

Arrange one-on-one meals with select individuals rather than joining large groups.

Follow up with others based on their interests, proving your immediate value.

When at a career fair or job conference, leave yourself time between sessions to pace yourself, increasing your focus at the programs you do attend.

Introverts energize alone.

While at networking events, periodically step away from the group to recharge.

Volunteer - this gives you a focus, purpose and specific role while networking.

When arriving at an event, pause to look over attendee nametags, giving you initial alone time and the opportunity to strategize whom to meet.

Make notations about new contacts on their business cards, increasing your ability to remember details and creating breaks between conversations.