What most shy people don’t realize is that networking is the key to excelling in their career, says Keith Ferrazzi, business coach and author of Never Eat Alone. Some wallflowers think that networking is deceitful and selfish, whereas others are afraid to initiate conversation in a networking opportunity. Once they realize that networking will help them in their careers, and that it is more about building strong, beneficial relationships with peers, they will be more willing to network, says Ferrazzi. Here are tips for those that need to break out of their shells and into the networking world:
• Take baby steps. Start out by networking with friends and family, and then move on to talking with friends from college. The alumni network from your college can help your networking abilities tremendously. Seek out those people working in the same field as you.
• Don’t be afraid to be yourself. You don’t have to turn into an extrovert if you’re not. Go into it confidently, but don’t worry if you’re awkward at times. You don’t have to be loud and outgoing all the time to be a successful networker.
• Find out what your passions are, and use them to your advantage. Join clubs or attend classes. Someone with your same passion might have a job that you hope to attain. By participating in something you both like, it’ll make the conversation flow easily.
— Adapted from “How to Network: 12 Tips for Shy People,” Brendan Goleby, LinkedIn.