It seems that meeting people and networking seems to natural for people. It may surprise you to learn that some of the best networkers are actually quite shy. Our networking guru Colleen Clarke has 4 ways to achieve your networking goals even as an introvert.
If meeting strangers face to face at a group function or calling up a high powered decision maker turns you right off, try a less direct approach to connecting and building relationships.
1. Send a letter of introduction before calling by emailing a succinct perfectly worded document or get introduced face to face at a meeting. Leaving a voice mail in off hours and expecting someone to call you back is ill advised, but it could work..
You can’t effectively use networking strategies that you are uncomfortable with or that are incongruent with your personality or you won’t get out there and do it.
2. Broaden your immediate network to include people who are already in positions relating to your goal. If, for example, your goal is to make a career move from accounting into human resources, introduce yourself to the Director of Human Resources and the Payroll Supervisor at your company. These individuals can put you in touch with like-minded associates, people with different skills, experiences, than can advise you on how to move forward with your goals.
3. Visualization. Visualize what you will look like and feel like once you have succeeded. It may mean altering your self-image, but visualization is an incredibly strong method of acquiring what you want in life. The ole photo on the frig is still a very powerful visual.
4. Mentoring. A mentor is a person you trust and who has been or is where you want to be. Before selecting a mentor read up on what is expected of you the mentee and your chosen expert, the mentor. When you’ve reached your goal, make yourself available as a mentor. Being a mentor is a great way to give back and to increase your visibility in a quiet, behind the scenes kind of way.
Networking that is goal-driven allows you to work smarter, not harder. You may spend some extra time up front establishing your goals, but in the long run, you’ll spend less time spinning your wheels and changing directions because your path will be focused.