Quiet Networking: Networking Tips for Introverts
I hate networking. I’m a shy introvert with social anxiety… which means all the typical networking stuff like small talk and starting a conversation with a human I don’t know is as comfortable for me as laying on a bed of rusty nails while an angry squirrel jumps on me would be.
Since it has obvious benefits, and has always been a part of my job, I used to suck it up and do it. But then I realized: being a quiet networker is a superpower. In this post, I'll break down each phase of networking and how to be an effective quiet networker.
One of the most powerful strategies starts days or even week before you arrive at the event. Most conferences have an app, and those apps often have some way of communicating with other attendees. For example, I recently attended the Women in Tech Summit and they’re used Whova. This let me scroll through to see who’s going, and even begin having conversations with people before I’m there - which soothes my introvert soul.
What should you look for while you scroll? Two things: scan for familiar names (obviously), and to see if there’s someone you want to meet. Is there someone who works at a company you're interested in, someone who does something similar to what you do, or just have something in common.
From there, do a light stalking. Not creepy deep stalking their Instagram timeline going 10 years back, but lurk their LinkedIn profile or whatever sites they have linked. You can even send connection requests with notes because the more people you pre-meet the easier it is when you're there.