Businesspundit.com has a great post on networking for introverts. They write:
Networking is an investment, not a nuisance.
Imagine if you could always find what you needed in just 1 or 2 phone
calls. If you are well networked, you probably can. By putting in the
time to build your network, you save time when you need to get things
done. Well networked people don’t have to waste time firing off random
emails to people they don’t know, buying leads or industry lists, or
hunting through hundreds of resumes for the right candidate. Pick your
poison. Do you want to put in the time now, or later?
At first, you have to kiss a lot of frogs.
Sometimes you have to start by picking events at random. You spend an
hour in a very uncomfortable setting, but you learn what to go to and
what to skip. Eventually you find a few people or events that you like.
Don’t spend too much time on it.
If you wear yourself out, you won’t ever want to do it. Accept your
limitations and just do 1 or 2 events a month. It takes a long time to
build these relationships, so it’s better to stick with a few groups
over the long haul than 10 groups for two months.
Do cool things.
Introverts typically don’t like to talk about themselves – we prefer to
talk about ideas. Force yourself to discuss some of the things you’ve
done. Don’t brag, make sure they are relevant to the conversation. Then
the extroverts can talk about you and pass your achievements along. It
gives you credibility in some circles. Yes, I realize you would rather
be accepted for what you think and know, but the truth is that the
world measures you by what you do.
Invite people to lunch.
Or invite them to coffee or for a beer after work. If you meet a fellow
introvert, he/she is unlikely to do the inviting, so you have to do it.
Go regularly to things you like.
When I was living on the Space Coast, I went to a group called Founders
Forum. It was for entrepreneurs and investors. I learned a lot at the
meetings, but it took about 6 months for people to start recognizing me
and saying hi. It was uncomfortable, being 23 in a room of mostly
middle aged people. You just have to keep showing up, month after month.
Analyze your results.
Introverts are intuitive and analytical. Use that skill. What is
working? What isn’t? Where do you get the most bang for your buck?
Hat Tip: Ben Casnocha