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Some people see networking as a hobby, so they love chatting with strangers. However, if you’re the introvert type, networking can feel like a necessary evil that you’d rather avoid.

You can do this!

Even though you may loathe the idea, know that even introverts can get their networking on, without feeling like it’s the first day of elementary school all over again (that’s some scary stuff, people).

Here are some tips. In the end you might even make friends!

1. Start easy

Remember seeing that one kid in class that you already knew? It was relatively easy to connect with him or her, or even to frantically cling on to this one, for the sake of social survival? Right?

Now copy-paste this experience to the grown-up world. Start by networking with people you already know. It’s not that scary when it’s a slight friend, friend of a friend, colleague or LinkedIn-contact.

Avoid literal clinging, though. One might get injured.

2. Reach out

The big hurdle to overcome is always: how to start the conversation. Right?

How to come across as relaxed and sincere, or rather, how to avoid all the negative opposites, like: too eager or too insincere. Or too clingy, too desperate, too needy, too unprofessional, or you name it!

Stop worrying about that. What other people think of you, is none of your business!
Focus on what makes you curious about this person, and put it out there.

You could also reach out by giving compliments. Especially, if you are the type that easily sees people’s achievements or endearing attributes. Provide your conversational partner with value, write about your common interests and ask them if they are willing to have a coffee with you.

A man and woman are having coffee outside a New York coffee place

Convinced? Schedule your invite immediately.
Not yet convinced? Read on, digital traveler, read on…

3. Be proactive

If it’s not obvious to others why they need to know you, then you need to start taking matters in your own hands.

Make yourself known, especially if you’re just starting out in the networking game.

Furthermore, most people like to see initiative in others. It gives you ‘bad ass’-credits. Don’t we all love those?

4. Keep your expectations low

Another way to reduce to pressure that you might feel, is to expect nothing, besides putting in this effort.

Why? Because you’re not going to win a competition, but you aim to invest and grow. And entering even the tiniest bit of ‘uncomfortzone’ is growth.

You go, person!

5. Reward yourself

It all looks some simple to those darned extraverts. They should only know how privileged they are. They probably don’t panic, avoid, and won’t lie awake worrying about all of this.

Therefore, if you pull through – and we are sure you will – then you are really up for a position in Marvel’s new superhero team. You kick ass, you rock, so treat yo’self baby!

Arjan van Rooijen