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Networking for Introverts, Extroverts, and Others.

danvyle profile image Dan-Vy Le ・5 min read

Networking for Introverts, Extroverts, and Others.

What is networking?

Networking is the exchange of information and ideas among people with a common profession or special interest, usually in an informal social setting.

How to Network:

1. Start networking with your existing connections.

Getting in touch with old friends, distant relatives, and people you went to school with can be a good stepping stone because you're reaching out, but you're not approaching complete strangers.

2. Locate who you want to talk to.

As a professional, or an aspiring professional, your time is important. Be discerning and selective — you owe it to yourself. Simply approach someone confidently, stick out your hand, and introduce yourself.

  • Fake it til you make it
  • Hostess mentality. Making others feel comfortable will make you feel more powerful.

3. Have your Elevator Pitch ready.

elevator

An elevator pitch is a personal blurb that sums up the "professional you" and can be delivered quickly — for example, in the time it would take two people to share an elevator ride.

4. Learn the art of the chit-chat, or small talk.

Having a great conversation often starts with a little bit of back-and-forth.

  • Look for an anchor, something you have in common. This will require asking questions, but once you find one, you're set.

5. But don't be afraid to go deeper.

In order to distinguish yourself from others, you'll want to dive deeper after the superficial chitchat and say something that really causes your contact to pause and think about you.

  • Find a passion or a problem.

6. Set yourself apart by thinking before you speak.

Everyone worries about the dreaded awkward silence. It's equally uncomfortable when you're worried about constantly keeping up the flow of conversation, you often forget about listening to what the other person has to say and worry about formulating an intelligent response.

7. Approach the networking experience from the perspective of "How can I help this person?"

While some certainly treat networking that way, it's a less sophisticated way to think about networking. Instead, try approaching a networking situation being willing to help someone else out first. If you genuinely try to help others out, they'll want to do the same for you. Then, the motivation for mutual assistance will come from a genuinely good place.

8. Find out who knows whom.

When you're talking to people, find out what they do for a living and for fun, as well as what their spouse or significant other, nearby family members, and close friends do for work and recreation, too.

  • It's much more valuable to give back and expand your network organically. This allows you to know people before you might actually need them.”

9. If all goes well, ask for their business card and assure them you'd like to continue the conversation.

network

Once you've had a pleasant chat, exchanged viewpoints, or commiserated over a horrible boss, don't be afraid to say that you've enjoyed the conversation.

10. Follow up.

Don't get someone's business card or e-mail address and forget about it. Find a way to stay in touch. Maintain your network. Because your network is like a tree: without nourishment, it will die. Be sure to give it the attention it needs to stay alive.

  • Let them know if you thought of them.

Tips on Networking and Mindset

  • It's not short-term, expect to create long-lasting relationships. The goal is to build meaningful long term connections. If you're hoping for results overnight it's gonna be a disappointment.

  • The next step in making networking more palatable is to think about how your interests and goals align with those of people you meet and how that can help you forge meaningful working relationships.

  • Think about the greater good vs. self-interest.

Promotion-focused vs. Prevention-focused

Promotion-focused people networked because they wanted to and approached the activity with excitement, curiosity, and an open mind about all the possibilities that might unfold. Prevention-focused people saw networking as a necessary evil and felt inauthentic while engaged in it, so they did it less often and, as a result, underperformed in aspects of their jobs.

At the end of the day...

Networking helps you hone essential interpersonal skills that are huge assets in today's world. It helps keep you on your toes, teaches you to listen, and inspires a humility born of a desire to help others. If you do networking for nothing else, do it for personal growth.

Tips:

  • Find languages/subject matter you're interested in or groups you identify with and start going.
  • Be friendly.
  • Don't set out to network, come from contribution.
  • Remember as boot camp grads, we bring a wealth of knowledge & experience outside of tech from all of your walks of life prior to this.
  • If it's work for you, then it's work for them, find someone with the same interests and the conversation is much easier.
  • Small talk is necessary and takes you to deeper, more meaningful talk, don't be afraid to do it.
  • Don’t make enemies, (it’s a small small industry still) as people you’ve worked with before will want to work with you again and they disperse thru the community pretty quickly.
  • Don't burn yourself out.
  • Find an extrovert. As you continue to network, you'll find that some people are much better at it than you are. They'll help connect you to the right people.
  • Don't stress if you don't make connections your first time or first five times. It's a numbers game. You have to actively search for your people.
  • Take notes on people you've met immediately after you meet them. You'll be meeting a lot of people and you're not a jerk if you forget about them, but you're 10x better if you remember something about them.
  • People who are shy and self-conscious tend to be a lot more open and talkative when they're doing or talking about something they're deeply interested in.
  • Be gracious. Mentors typically like helping others, they tend to enjoy it all the more when they are thanked for their assistance.
  • Learn to disengage in weird, awkward conversations without sounding rude.
  • Don't think that you have to go to social events to network, it can be in person, on the phone or via social media/linked in.

It's also worth noting that I am an extrovert, but much of the non-documented advice is from self-proclaimed introverts.

Sources:

1) Investopedia. https://www.investopedia.com/terms/n/networking.asp

2) Harvard Business Review. https://hbr.org/2016/05/learn-to-love-networking

3) How to Network. https://www.wikihow.com/Network

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danvyle profile

Dan-Vy Le

@danvyle

Walks of life: Online advertising, hospitality, real estate and budding software developer.

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