Virtual Networking: Practical Tips for the Introvert
By: Jill Thompson
A virtual networking event… It could be a dream come true for the introverted job seeker! No more going to a loud, crowded place where an overwhelming sense of anxiety knocks at your door before even stepping foot through the door.
While it seems that we are inching closer towards normalcy, many in-person networking events are still being hosted virtually. While a virtual networking event can have many benefits (the attendee list may be smaller, and you may have the opportunity to engage with people from all over the globe), an introverted person may still feel a bit of angst at the thought of networking. Many career coaches from across the world will tell you that networking is not only recommended, but it is the #1 way to land a job. So, here are some tips to help an introverted person feel successful in a virtual networking situation.
Do your homework.
Look at the invite list to see who is planning on attending. This gives you a chance to connect with someone before the event. You should also look at LinkedIn profiles to see if you have anything in common with any attendees.
Prepare what you want to share.
Have your introduction prepared. Many virtual meetings will start by asking you to do a quick verbal introduction of yourself both professionally and personally.
Choose three topics you feel extremely comfortable discussing so you do not feel pressured in the moment if asked to speak up.
Invite a friend.
Like in-person events, it helps to have a colleague or friend join you online if you remember the goal is to connect with and meet new people.
Sometimes it is hard to get a word in when there are many people “on the screen.” By using your ability to deeply listen and evaluate what is being said, you can follow up after the event with thoughtful comments and the chance to start a new dialogue about business opportunities.
Sign up for events that are scheduled when you have the most energy.
When is your peak energy period, the time when you feel most in “flow”? Join events at these times so you do not have the additional burden of networking when you are not “feeling it.”
Email people you want to know.
Virtual networking does not have to be exclusively related to a large video meeting. Networking via email is an excellent way to make a new connection and can be a more personal interaction. Email can also be easier to tackle as it does not drain an introvert of energy like a big in-person event might.
Create your own event.
This gives you the chance to control your networking environment and bring together people or interest groups you want to meet.
Networking is one of the best strategies to reveal future opportunities and to connect with potential employers. Best of luck to you as you navigate this virtual networking world!
What other tips do you have? Feel free to comment below.