Networking Tips for Introverts: Overcoming the 5 Major Objections

Networking Event for Women

I said yes.

And then I immediately started to think about the multitude of ways I could get out of it.

Do I feel a cough coming on? Emergency appendectomy? An urgent need to wash my hair?

Please, oh please, have something come up last minute that would save me from this.

“This” being a networking event. And me being a career coach.


NETWORKING TIPS FOR INTROVERTS

I am an introvert, through and through. That might seem weird because I loudly proclaim all of the details of my life to the internet.

It might also seem weird because if you met me in person, I wouldn’t seem like an introvert. I’ll make conversation, ask you where you’re from, smile and laugh at appropriate times. Maybe I’ll even throw in a joke if I’m feeling confident or incredibly uncomfortable.

But there it is, the incredibly uncomfortable part. That’s my introvert showing.


Networking tips for introverts to help build your career

The Extroverted Introvert

My happy place is on my couch by the wood stove reading a book or writing an article. Oh, and being with my family, I like them a lot too. But I absolutely need my alone time to recharge my batteries.

Being an introvert who is also a career coach can also seem like a weird combination. Shouldn’t I get my energy from being around people? Here’s the thing, I do. To an extent.

I love working with people one-on-one and helping them get to that “ah ha” moment. Light bulb moments are my favorite!

But then I need to be alone again after that, to be in my quiet space. Preferably in pajamas, but not required. Retreating back to my safe zone helps me to be present and available when I am peopling, without it I get all itchy.


The Introvert Objections

Does this ring true to you? Are you a true Myers Briggs introvert with a capital I?

If so, the idea of networking might sound incredibly intimidating to you. Even small talk at a kid’s birthday party can seem intimidating let alone trying to talk to people about your professional goals. Here are some other common introvert objections to networking:

I’m way too shy.

I won’t have anything to say. Why would someone want to talk to me?

I’m going to make this real awkward, real fast.

It seems fake.

I have to put on real pants.

So we’re going to tackle those objections, from one introvert to another, to put some rose colored glasses on the world networking. And I’ll share some networking tips for introverts to help you overcome them.

One article isn’t going to free you of all introverted networking insecurities, I mean, I literally just told you that I was panicking about going to a networking event, but the rose colored glasses certainly help.


I’m way too shy.

Meeting new people can be hard. I get it. So dip your toe into networking without making eye contact.

You don’t need to throw yourself into an in person networking event if they give you hives in order to network. Please don’t get hives. I haven’t used an epi pen in YEARS.

Instead, you can start your networking using the grand old World Wide Web. LinkedIn anyone? If you’re not on LinkedIn, hop on there ASAP and use the power of Facebook Pro to your advantage.

And speaking of Facebook, there are some fantastic networking groups on there too. Join groups relevant to your interests. Ask questions, answer other people’s question. You can make connections from the comfort of your home.


I’m going to make this real awkward, real fast.

Awkward is the new cool. I’ll stand by that.

Perfection is so yawnable I literally can’t even. I would much rather be in front of someone who is authentic and a little bit weird than someone is scripted to the Nth degree.

So yeah, if you’re on the phone with someone for a networking call or you’re meeting someone in person, you might say something you didn’t mean to. But I encourage you to embrace your awkward as part of what makes you relatable and a fun person to know.

And you know what can help ease the awkwardness a little? Don’t talk that much. We’ll get to that next.


Women sitting at desk in a white room.
Things that are awkward about this picture: The plant growing out of my back. My hand. My other hand. The fact that I desperately wanted to bring that sign home with me.

I won’t have anything to say. Why would someone want to talk to me?

First of all, you’re awesome. And don’t let anyone tell you differently.

Second, you don’t necessarily need to say much to start networking. Let the other person talk.

Start by asking questions. How did she decide to enter this particular field? What does he love about working for his company? How did she build the skill sets to be successful in this industry? What advice would he have for someone starting out? People really do like to talk about themselves and reflect on their own experiences. It’s fun to feel like the expert!

I promise that by being interested, you’ll be interesting. No sweat!


It seems fake.

If you’re an introvert you like your alone time and you also may value deep relationships and connections over meeting lots and lots of people. So going out to meet new people for the sake of them helping your career, meh, that doesn’t sound fun.

But I like to flip the script on this. Would it feel fake to you to offer your help to someone else? Not even in the realm of careers. If someone asks you for your advice on how to grow a great garden like yours, or where to find the best pediatrician you don’t scoff at them. You feel good that they trust your judgement.

It’s the same thing with networking in the professional sense. People don’t mind being asked for advice. It shows you respect them and admire them. Be generous with your time and you’ll find others are excited to be generous with theirs.


I have to put on real pants.

Sometimes that’s true. So, you might need to embrace the idea that putting on real pants, or some comfy leggings under a dress, isn’t the worst thing in the world. It can feel good to get dressed up a little now and again.

But still, let’s circle back to the “I’m too shy” objection. You really can do a lot of networking online. Even if you aren’t feeling shy, online networking is a way to fit meeting new people into your busy life when the only time you have is 9:50pm on a Wednesday.

From the comfort of your sweatpants, find a contact on LinkedIn who works at your target company. Text a friend to see if she could introduce you to her neighbor so you can find out how she became a spin instructor. The beauty of the 21st century, we can accomplish a lot from our couches!


Putting Your New Networking Tips and Tricks Into Practice

So I’m going to challenge you to try to network.

If you are looking for a new job, building your own business, moving to a new city, or you are perfectly happy in your job and you don’t want anything to change. I’m talking to ALL of you. Try to do some networking today.

It can be as simple as joining a relevant group online. Or inviting an old colleague to connect on LinkedIn. Or sending an email to a professional or personal contact you haven’t spoken with in a while. A friendly “hi how are ya?” Just take one small action, you never know what the ripple effect might be.

And when you’re ready to dive in further, come back to these networking tips for introverts. Stick a pin in it for later! Relationships matter, and networking… well, it’s not so bad.


Four women at a networking event
The lovely people I sat with at the networking event I almost drove away from. It was honestly rather enjoyable. Great soup.

With affinities for sweatpants, alone time, and all things career,

Becca Carnahan Blog

Read More Career Development Posts

How to Write an Effective Resume

Cover Letter Tips

The Lemonade Stand Sales Strategy

What Does “Having It All” Mean To You?


Women at computer. Effective networking tips for introverts. #networkingtips #networking #careeradvice

Photo Cred: Lis Rock Photography


16 Replies to “Networking Tips for Introverts: Overcoming the 5 Major Objections”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *