The thought of networking often strikes terror in the hearts of job seekers… even more so for those of us that are particularly shy or introverted.
At one time or another, everyone dreads a networking event. Some of us take a while to get used to our surroundings before we shine. Others are simply naturally, and consistently, shy. In some cases, we may even have social anxiety.
Regardless of the cause of your shyness, it’s important you don’t completely forgo networking during your job search. So for you introverts, here are nine networking tips to shake your shyness:
1. Set Some Goals
Going into an event or meeting doesn’t have to seem quite as daunting when you have a few goals prepared. Whether you’d like to network with a certain number of people, hand out your business card, or find out a specific piece of information, having a goal going into a networking event helps you feel more focused.
2. Go with a Friend or Colleague
Like any social event, going with someone you know takes some of the pressure off. Your friend or colleague may know people you don’t and vice versa, automatically doubling your network at the event. It also makes it a bit more comfortable when going up to new people.
3. Start with Small Groups
Once you attend an event or meeting with your friend or colleague, starting small still helps to get you in your networking groove. Situations often seem less threatening when with a smaller group of people. Then you can really get to know everyone and have more one-on-one time.
4. Don’t Forget to Use Online Networking Tools
When all else fails (or seems too daunting), don’t forget that social networking websites like Twitter and LinkedIn are great ways to start a new connection. You can figure out who is best to network with, make initial contact, and then prepare for a one-on-one meeting or phone call.
5. Get to Events Earlier, Rather Than Later
The great thing about getting to an event early is that you can acclimate yourself to the setting and slowly meet people as they arrive. Otherwise, you’re forced into a new scene all at once, which can be much more overwhelming.
6. When All Else Fails, Ask People About Themselves
If you’re feeling awkward or unsure of where to go next in a conversation with a new contact, try asking a question about their a life. Obviously, don’t get too personal. But people like to talk about themselves, so you never know when you might find common ground and even make a friend.
7. Take the Pressure Off
Take a deep breathe before meeting a new job contact. Know that while you could gain a lot from the meeting, you may not learn much either. Your entire job search and career likely doesn’t ride on this single meeting or phone call, so take some pressure off of yourself.
8. Be Prepared for the Good and the Bad
When I say be prepared, I mean two things. First, bring some resumes, business cards, and prepare your 30-second pitch speech about yourself. But also be prepared to meet good and bad networking connections. Not everyone you meet is going to be a help in your career, offer sound advice, or even be interested in you.
9. Be Yourself!
At the end of the day, if you’re naturally a bit soft spoken and shy, that’s OK! What would the world be like if every single person was boisterous and vying for each others attention? Shudder.
Exactly. So loosen up, no one expects you to be the center of attention. Don’t let your shyness get in the way. Try using some of these tips and tricks to nail your next networking event and shake your shyness.
What techniques or tips do you have for job seekers who are shy or introverted?
For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at ComeRecommended!
About the Author: Kristen Wishon holds an M.S. and B.S. in journalism with a concentration in public relations and a minor in art history from West Virginia University (WVU). Prior to joining Come Recommended, Kristen gained public relations, editorial and promotional writing, and social media experience through several health & pharmacy-focused internships in West Virginia. Follow Kristen on Twitter!
Image courtesy of www.shynessanxietyhub.com, thank you!