How to be a better networker for introverts and shy people

How to be a better networker for introverts and shy people

Shyness or ‘discomfort’ around other people need not be an obstacle when it comes to networking because, despite perceptions to the contrary, introverted people often have better networking skills than so-called ‘people persons’ — whether they’re in the job market, self-employed or business owners who need to drum up more business.

Most New Zealanders in business will know that referrals and word-of-mouth are a Kiwi’s favourite way to do business. Most will admit in all honesty that getting ahead isn’t always a case of what you know, but very much one of who you know and how well you know them.

Even in times of Covid restrictions and social distancing, succeeding professionally still depends on how well you connect and how well connected you are.

Introverts are good listeners

The good news is that introverts already possess the most valuable networking skill; they’re good listeners and they tend to wait until the speaker is finished speaking to ask questions.

It’s like that old pearl of wisdom says: “The more interested you are, the more interesting you will be”. This is where introverts are at an advantage because everybody knows that a lot of outgoing people like to talk, usually about themselves. They will love you for listening.

How to overcome the ‘initiating conversation’ hump

Holding the conversation is not difficult for introverts because mostly they get to listen –  provided you’re primed with one or two good leading questions.

The thing most shy people dread is initiating the conversation. “What will I say?” is a question that articulates some shy people’s biggest fear: walking up to a total stranger and starting up a conversation is tantamount to facing down an enemy tank in your underwear.

  1. Talk about the weather

Don’t be afraid to break the ice with simple statements like: ‘Winter’s really making itself felt, isn’t it?’ It’s about the weather, but so what? The weather is important.

  1. Ask to be a host

When attending functions or business mixers, volunteer to be a host. This makes you more official. It gives you an excuse greet people and welcome them to the event. It only takes three or four words to make that breakthrough.

Other structures that present opportunities for volunteers are parents’ meetings and sports events.

  1. Get motivated

The author of Networking for Everyone, Michelle Tullier, says shy people can motivate themselves by getting competitive.

“Try to remember lots of people, who aren’t half as capable, qualified, talented and nice as you are advancing simply because they connect with others and make themselves visible.”

  1. Choose events carefully

Events with an agenda that involves networking are a good place to practice.

Attending events, such as interactive seminars and workshops, or structured networking events with an agenda for networking are a good appetiser to becoming a good networker.

Contact Us

Instant Cash for Your Business

Interface is NZ's leading alternative finance source for small and medium sized business. We have over 15 years' experience in NZ with our specialist invoice discounting (spot factoring) service and can turn your debtor invoices into immediate cash to pay your creditors on time. Why wait for your debtors to pay you in 30 to 45 days when you can have cash today?