Networking KnowHow for Introverts

Aug 05 2019

Who we know often counts as much as what we know when it comes to our careers. Networking skills don’t come naturally to everyone, especially people who consider themselves shy or introverted. One needs to be simultaneously cautious and courageous to improve our chances of advancement. 

Coach and communication expert Susan Mikulay suggests four points of practice that anyone can use to improve their networking knowhow: 

Building Brave Expert Susan Mikulay

Susan Mikulay

  1. It’s the little things. Networking begins with the little things: make eye contact with others, smile, say “good morning”, “good afternoon,” hold the door for colleagues, etc. Begin with the little things immediately and then you can move on to larger conversations as your confidence builds.
  2. Move, Sister! Get out of your office and walk around your floor or department at least twice a day. See your colleagues and make sure they see you. Talk to people along your route (without interrupting or being intrusive).
  3. Two New For You. Make a goal of meeting at least two new people each week – more if you can stand it. You don’t need to make two new best friends each week, just meet two new people within your organization. I recognize this is easier said than done but, dig deep and find vehicles to introduce yourself to others. I often use this simple line, “I’m not sure we’ve met, I’m Susan…..”  and it works.
  4. Shop Talk. The easiest way to initiate a dialogue is to ask someone to talk about themselves. Ask people what project they’re working on or what they do at the organization, and you are guaranteed an instant conversation. This should also provide an opportunity for you to let others know what tasks you are involved with, and the skills you bring to the company.

Networking is an art and takes time to improve. The more you practice, the more self-confidence you build and the more connections you make– both of which help you reach your full potential. 

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About the Author

Meghan Wollack

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