Believe it or not, I’m actually an introvert.
For those that don’t really know if they’re introverted or extroverted, you can take this test here to find out what you are! My results were 80 percent introvert which is pretty high considering what I do for a living. For me to do what I do, I’ve had to learn a lot of different skillsets and challenge myself. I’ve had to step outside of my comfort zone many times, so hopefully, these networking tips will help you whether you’re an introvert or not.
PS: As you can tell from these photos, I shot this post while I was still pregnant with Colette!
1. Try to Surround Yourself with Extroverts
I naturally gravitate toward extroverts, and I didn’t realize this until recently. I’m really connected to the people around me. For example, my husband Allen is THE definition of an extrovert! He loves talking to people, can talk to anyone in the room and is super warm and inviting when you meet him. Not that I hide behind him, but he’s a great person to break the ice and makes conversation really easy! Plus, half of the people on the CINCteam are extroverts too which is a good balance in a group.
They say you’re most like the 5 people you spend the most time with and because I surround myself with extroverts, I’ve picked up some of those extroverted skills and have become a lot more comfortable putting them into action.
2. Just Get Over It
You can be nervous, but sometimes you have to suck it up and just get over it! Be proactive and introduce yourself to people with a firm handshake and eye contact, it shows that you’re confident… even if you feel like you aren’t. I used to be the type of person that would wait around for other people to introduce themselves to me but when they didn’t, I would feel rejected in a sense… but then I realized that I can’t wait on that! So I took initiative. Wherever I am, I try and always be the first person to introduce myself to others.
3. Small Talk It Out
Small talk sucks sometimes, but it works! My tip is that people generally love talking about themselves so ask a lot of questions they can answer! Don’t be offended if they don’t reciprocate. You can learn so much about people if you just ask and listen. Whether the topic is about their interests, kids, where they’re from, what they do… anything! This will help get the conversation flowing and put everyone at ease.
4. Compliments are The Best Icebreakers
Everyone loves a good compliment but make sure you’re being sincere when you give one. No one likes a Regina George! It helps get the conversation going and opens up a ton of avenues to go down!
5. Follow Up
Here’s where the networking bit comes into actual play. So you’ve got a good foundation going, but now you need to follow through. Everyone has an Instagram so you don’t have to ask for a card or phone number these days! If you really vibe with the person, instead of asking for their contact, it’s so much easier to ask for their Instagram handle instead to stay in touch! It almost feels less aggressive and a lot more casual! Of course, it all depends on the context so make sure you feel out the room. If you’re in a really professional environment, you can’t go wrong with a business card or asking for an email address.
Do you guys have any networking tips that have worked for you? I’d love to hear them! Keep the conversation going down in the comments below and have a great Monday!
Photography by Karla Ticas