Navigating the working world involves making important connections. These connections will help you when the time comes to apply to a job, pursue further schooling, or embark on a business endeavor. It doesn’t take a lot to network if you make use of the opportunities around you. However, this task may be daunting for the average introvert. Learning to overcome your insecurities as an introvert will help make networking a lot easier.
Introverts tend to be shy and reclusive, so social interactions are definitely at the bottom of their to-do list. There are many reasons as to why they may avoid social settings, but one of the main reasons is because they are mentally draining. Some have insecurities around talking to people or they may find it hard to keep a conversation going. So time spent alone is greatly valued because they can avoid all of these things they struggle with. While they do appreciate having some kind of social interaction, having a good balance between that and quiet time is especially important.
When it comes to networking, you can assume that an introvert probably dreads it. The act in of itself can feel like a burden. Initiating conversation, meeting new people, and talking about themselves all takes a lot of effort on their part. However, looking at networking from a different perspective can remove a lot of the pressure when it comes time to do so. It’s as simple as exchanging numbers, emails, or social media profiles with someone who shares the same interests as you. That connection can serve as a gateway to where you want to be or who you want to get in touch with. Try to see networking as something that can happen over time. It doesn’t have to happen all in one semester of college or during your first week at a new job. Each person you meet, whether in passing, in class, or at the cafe, can be the perfect opportunity for you to network. Even if it’s a quick conversation, don’t be afraid to exchange emails or numbers if you feel as though you’ve made a connection with someone based on similar interests. Over time you’ll find that you have made many valuable relationships.
Think about what your interests are and find opportunities to dive deeper into them. If you love music and would like to know more about the music world, find music clubs on campus, visit an open mic night with a friend, put yourself in an environment with others who share the same interests as you. That way when you do strike up a conversation with someone, you are bound to have something in common and you will be able to network. It's tough to try and muster up the courage to talk to people at times, but when the topic of discussion is something that you are interested in, the conversation can flow a bit easier.
Getting out there is something that cannot be avoided when it comes to networking. No matter how much you would like to stay in, the opportunities won’t come as long as you’re staying inside. Trust that if you are in a working environment or on a college campus, there are centers, clubs, and events put in place to make it easier for people to come together. Try to push past your comfort zone and seek out chances to be in social environments at least once in a while. It doesn't hurt to try!
A lot of the things we want out of life prompts us to get out of our comfort zones, such as with networking. There is absolutely nothing wrong with being an introvert, but it’s important to learn techniques to overcome your fear of meeting new people. Awesome opportunities await when you take a chance!
Jaimy aspires to be a relative voice to other young adults like her. As a Haitian-American first-generation college graduate, she knows that the complicated journey she's been on to get to where she's at now is the same story for many others. She challenges the status quo by going after what she truly believes in which is having the opportunity to be creative while unapologetically pursuing your passion and not conforming to what everyone else deems is right for you. Jaimy loves to read, stay active, and spend time with the people she loves.