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Networking Tips for Introverts

People on electronics at a networking event

No matter what industry you choose to work in, the relationships you make will likely be vital not only to professional success but also to your enjoyment of the job. While the strongest relationships are formed over months and years working side by side with someone, networking provides opportunities to expand your professional circle beyond immediate colleagues. Unfortunately, many people, especially introverts, shy away from networking events and do themselves a disservice. Try out these three networking tips to make the most of each event.

The Right Mindset

As with most things in life, starting with a negative mindset becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. No matter how many networking tips you gather, if you go into an event convinced that it's going to be awful, you'll probably prove yourself right. Try going into the event with some concrete, attainable goals (meet three people, tell a story, etc.). It also helps to not go in 'cold' but to warm up your socializing by chatting with office mates after work or even calling a friend to shoot the breeze right before attending an event.

Don't Play a Part

One of the most common things introverts try to do to get over their aversion to networking is to play the part of the extrovert. Mimicking someone you believe to be more sociable is the wrong move. For one, it is very hard to fake if it isn't your natural disposition. Secondly, even if you can do it convincingly, people will come to expect that person in their future interactions with you. The bottom line is that it's exhausting trying to be someone else and much better to just be yourself.

Stick With It

You get good at networking the same way you get to Carnegie Hall: practice, practice, practice. If it helps, you could consider attending networking events not specific to your profession, such as university events. There should be less pressure knowing you're not interacting only with people in your industry. Attending a few of these more relaxed gatherings can help you try out these and other networking tips to gain confidence.

Whether you're looking to take your current career to the next level or change career paths, the Tulane School of Professional Advancement is here to help. With online courses and convenient evening and weekend schedules designed to fit your busy life, you can get a world-class degree in a way that makes sense for you. Learn more about our degree programs online, or explore our career development resources for more tips.

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