Apart from constructing a powerful résumé, networking is vital to getting a job. According to a survey conducted by the Adler Group, almost 60% of candidates landed a job through an internal move or networking! While networking is all about talking to people, it is regarded as a very useful skill that can be developed in time through practice. Truth is, even for the most outgoing people, connecting with professionals can be intimidating and for the most introverted people, it could even be a nerve-wracking experience.
Luckily, there are some ways you can work around the issue and still manage to give out a good first impression to employers! Let’s check the following networking tips to help you work on your people skills and develop your confidence when interacting with other professionals:
#1 Practice with family or friends
If you are a shy person, you may find it easier to network with people whom you already know. Start by connecting with people you are familiar with and practice your small talk skills, as this will help you get some experience on how networking really works. The most effective way of doing this is by first approaching members of your family or friends who have a similar professional background to you with whom you can talk about things that interest you.
#2 Network through LinkedIn
LinkedIn is an essential tool for every introverted individual! This professional network can actually help you connect with people within your industry and get more information about any company online. Without having to meet with other professionals in person, your first contact happens online through a LinkedIn invitation or an InMail message which is a much easier and less frightening experience. Send an InMail to establish a connection that may prove valuable for you in the future, introducing yourself and your immediate career goals.
#3 Develop your phone skills
Practice speaking on the phone in order to become more comfortable with that form of communication and develop your confidence of doing the same when you are meeting professionals in person. If you are able to communicate clearly and enthusiastically over the phone, you are more likely to succeed in networking, and connecting with people in public when you are outside of your comfort zone. Talk on the phone more often to develop your phone skills and speak slowly and clearly to ensure you are making yourself understood.
#4 Take a public speaking class
If public speaking is your worst nightmare, the only way to overcome your fear is to confront it. Since networking requires that you communicate with people to convey a specific message, public speaking classes can actually help you develop your presentation skills and learn useful techniques on how to decrease anxiety. Truth is, if you manage to control your nerves while talking in front of an audience, you will be more comfortable to network with just one or two people!
#5 Create an elevator speech
When connecting with other professionals, what you are essentially doing is introducing yourself. So, in order to become more effective in small-talk and confident in starting a conversation, it might be a good idea to prepare a personal mission statement, otherwise known as the ‘elevator speech’. The elevator speech is a great way to tell your story and helps you articulate who you are, and what your key skills and goals are more effectively.
If you are a shy individual, follow these tips to increase your chances of networking success and expand your professional network in no time! If you don’t have a LinkedIn account, make it your top priority to join the online network and enjoy all the benefits that come with the membership!