Photo: Flickr/Alex decarvalho
When competition is tough, and a high percentage of jobs come from referrals, networking is more essential now than ever, but if you’re an introvert, these social situations can be challenging. Kristene Doyle, director of the Albert Ellis Institute, a psychotherapy clinic in Manhattan, says you can’t let your anxiety keep you down.
“We’re all uncomfortable at various times, but we have to tolerate it and in order to get comfortable, you first have to get uncomfortable,” she told us.
“You may not love it, but the more you do it, the more you’ll be more OK with it.”
Here are a couple of tips Doyle gave us to help introverts succeed in networking situations:
1. Have a goal. Doyle says you should set concrete goals before networking events. For example, tell yourself you’ll speak to 10 people at this certain event, and work hard to reach your goals.
2. Role play. Before the actual event, practice your networking skills with a friend, but make sure it’s someone who will give you honest feedback.
3. Start with a small group. For a less threatening situation, join a smaller gathering when you first arrive at the networking event. This will give you a chance to examine extroverts around you. Watch their body language, how they lean in when they’re speaking to someone, or how they maintain eye contact with the people around them. Then, try to imitate this body language.
4. Pay attention to the way you speak. What you talk about and how you bring up topics will influence the way you feel, act and behave. However, don’t spend too much time analysing this, because then you won’t sound natural and people will pick up on this. Doyle says conversations are best when the participants are willing to be human, make mistakes and be in the moment.
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