An introvert’s guide to networking


Networking is essential to any career and introverts, you have to do it too.

Networking can be overwhelming for anyone, let alone an introvert. As you’re probably aware, extroverts usually get their energy from interacting with people, whereas for introverts, their batteries are recharged through time spent alone. 

So if like me you are introverted, you’ll know that networking is confronting. I hate talking about what I am good at and often shy away from individuals in high status or powerful positions. I am comfortable around those I know, but in a room full of strangers I let someone else do the talking.

Got more career queries? Head to our Life section. 

Even though I love meeting people with similar interests or people I am inspired by, the thought of networking is downright terrifying.

But like it or not, networking is necessary for pretty much every industry and it can provide you with amazing opportunities. And it doesn’t have to be forced and fake. Instead, you can focus on creating genuine connections with like-minded people, rather than obtaining as many business cards as possible. 

Kate James, the founder of Total Balance, came to her work as a career coach after working with creatives that were incredible at what they did, but often lacked self-belief. Similarly, Leah Lambart, the founder of Relaunch Me, assists individuals in finding work tailored to them.

Both Kate and Leah emphasise that introverts can, in fact, ace networking. And together, they have helped me cultivate a guide on how to tackle it. 

The right event is key, but sometimes traditional networking is unavoidable

Both Kate and Leah agree that finding the right event is key for introverts. “Going to an event with someone you already know is a good starting point,” Kate highlights. 

“Acknowledging that you do better in one-to-one settings, [try to] build a couple [of] meaningful connections, rather than as many as you can.”

Alternatively, Leah suggests that speaker-style events can be beneficial over mingling at a venue. “[An] event with a specific focus or topic will help an introvert find some common ground with other attendees.”

What are some alternative networking opportunities introverts can try?

If you are not big on large networking environments, there are other approaches you can try. 

LinkedIn is a great platform for networking for introverts. It allows you to identify specific people that you would like to build a relationship with and the opportunity to contact them directly… If the person accepts your request then this is a signal that they are happy to open up a conversation with you.

“Informational interviews are a great way to network one-on-one. This means setting up a one-on-one meeting with someone to learn or share ideas. This may be a phone call, Zoom meeting or a meeting over coffee and is usually a much more relaxed setting for an introvert,” Leah explains. 

Kate suggests that online events and Facebook groups can also help like-minded individuals and businesses work together to support each other. 

“Going to workshops and finding things that can further your education can also be good. You will naturally meet people in these environments and the shared interest is a great starting point to start a connection,” Kate shares. 

How can introverts utilise their skills to their benefit?  

Kate highlights that introverts should shift misconceptions around networking, as really it is just individuals supporting each other. She also encourages introverts to reframe their weaknesses, and focus on what they do well

“Focus on what you love doing and not comparing yourself to others. Most introverts are really good listeners, which often means that they build meaningful connections well. People like to talk about themselves, so asking questions and listening can be great in networking,” she says. 

Leah points out that “by really listening to [someone] you… may be able to follow up afterwards by sharing an article that may be of interest to them, sharing a link to a website or recommending a book or documentary that may be of interest to them [to maintain the connection]. 

“Many introverts also have great writing skills so may find it easier to write an introduction email to someone rather than making a cold call,” she points out.

How about some other tips for building your confidence when it comes to networking?

Kate tells me that most creatives, extroverted or not, are uncomfortable when it comes to networking. “Knowing that other people are out there and [that the] majority of people have some sense of self-doubt, because it is normal, can be reassuring.” 

Leah suggests focusing on the other person rather than yourself. “Be curious and ask the other person lots of questions.  Preparing a few questions before the event may take the pressure off trying to think of questions on the spot.

“Do your research before attending. I always review the guest list if possible before attending an event to refresh the memory with names that I should know as well as to consider which people I might like to meet because of a shared interest or potential to collaborate,” she says. 

For more ideas on how to use your introversion to your advantage, try this.

Lazy Loading