In the professional world, networking is crucial to building and maintaining a career—even if you’re an introvert who finds it particularly challenging. But you can learn to reduce the tension surrounding this important activity.
Certified life and career coach Dorothy Tannahill-Moran cites some common networking myths that may be further intimidating introverts.
- Networking isn’t plunging headfirst into a crowd of strangers. If you want to network, don’t go to generic events. Specific networking events will not only bring you together with people who share your interests, but will most likely include people you know in your field who will introduce you to professionals you’ll benefit from knowing.
- Networking isn’t trying to fill up your dance card. You want quality, not quantity. The people who engage you in meaningful conversations are the ones you remember, not someone who introduced themselves and left quickly to continue working the room.
- Networking isn’t about finding people to use. Approaching people with a predatory mindset will gain you nothing in the long run. Be the first to give in a relationship before asking for something in return.
- Networking isn’t being the most outgoing person in the room. While networking does mean talking to strangers, it doesn’t mean you should force yourself to be someone you’re not. Any lasting relationship should start with an authentic representation of yourself, even if starting a conversation involves an adaptation of your usual behavior.
— Adapted from “7 Myths About Networking: The Introvert Guide to Surviving Networking,” Dorothy Tannahill-Moran, Career Rocketeer.