Networking For Introverts: A Guide To Help You Fake It Till You Make It
May the odds be ever in your favor
It’s true that an invitation to network with a group of strangers gives us all an adrenaline rush—the only difference is that some use it to prepare and perfect their elevator pitches while others use it to hyperventilate, cry and run to the hills. The following guide is for the latter group who’d rather stick their fingers in a socket than go through another bout of small talk awkwardness.
Turn the nervous frown upside down
Don’t let the panic show up on your face. Instead, as Skipper the penguin from Madagascar says, “Just smile and wave, boys. Smile and wave.” A guaranteed way to make yourself look more approachable, a friendly smile can help you connect with a stranger instantly, and easily open up a window for further conversation.
Use your superpower
Everybody loves to talk about themselves, but you know what they love more? Finding someone who will listen to them talk about themselves. You have the gift of active listening, so why not put it to good use? Show interest in other people’s lives and follow up with questions—you’re Karan Johar and this is your episode of Koffee with Karan. Bonus tip: remember the names of your new comrades and use it to address them in conversation.
What would they do?
Do you have a favorite fictional character or a role model that you look up to? In unfamiliar and uncomfortable situations, think about what would they do and go ahead and do just that. Simple.
Back straight, chin up
Your body language speaks louder than your words. An easy hack to maintain a good posture is to imagine yourself wearing an exquisite necklace that you’d like to show off. It will instantly make you sit/stand upright with your shoulders relaxed and chin up. Uncross your arms and legs to look amiable and maintain eye contact to show confidence.
Keep your phone away
You know those times when you reach for your phone and pretend to answer emails when caught in an uncomfortable setting? Well, try not to. It’s hard, but what’s harder is to network with real people while simultaneously escaping to the digital world. Keep your phone away, study the room and make your move.
‘20 seconds of insane courage’ – Benjamin Mee, We Bought a Zoo
When fear stops you from putting yourself out there and doing something new, muster up the courage and give yourself 20 seconds of embarrassing bravery. Feel the fear and do it anyway.
Images via: Pinterest