The power of networking is undeniable. Yet, networking strategies often favor extroverted personalities. Happy hours, cocktail parties, and conferences are notable places to professionally connect, but they are not the only places. Below are a few introvert friendly networking opportunities.
Meet up at a Coffee Shop
If happy hours are not your thing, coffee shops offer a more comfortable alternative. Consider scheduling a few one-on-on meetings at a coffee shop to get to know or catch up with colleagues. Coffee shops offer an escape from the noise and banter in bars. Plus, everyone needs a coffee break so why not leverage that time to build your network?
Volunteer in the Community
Volunteering is often a win-win situation. The community benefits from philanthropic service, and volunteers experience the joy of giving back. Volunteering also offers opportunities to connect with new faces who care about similar causes. Working beside someone also takes the pressure off of only talking and networking. And, while the professional benefits may not be immediately apparent, there is always potential value of networking with others who do not have overlapping career interests.
Cultivate your Hobbies
Networking while pursuing your hobbies can be fun. Think about all the business transactions that have occurred on a golf course. Introverts have the opportunity to pursue their hobbies and network too. It can be easier to connect with people in an environment you already enjoy around people who share a similar passion. Next time you’re at your book club or playing soccer, consider reaching out and connecting with the person next to you!
Technology offers introverts a way to network without having to be in large crowds or even talk face-to-face with others. Online interest groups, professional association websites, and various discussion boards are places to bounce off ideas and stay up-to-date with current topics. Online platforms can also be a less intimidating way to get advice or meet new people.
In contrast to using technology to network, consider getting some fresh air and going outside. The office, conferences, and cocktail parties are not the only places to grow your network. You may be pleasantly surprised by how many people you meet while soaking up vitamin D. Going on a hike or spending time in the park can have health and professional benefits!
Six Degrees of Separation
Networking doesn’t always have to involve meeting completely new people. Getting to know “friends of friends” is another way for introverts to network without being forced to grasp at straws for conversation. We all have various social networks, and a friend may be able to introduce you to a potential contact or mentor!