New Year’s Resolution #3 for Introverts: Build Strategic Networks

by | Jan 24, 2024

Hello, fellow introverts, and welcome back to our exploration of 10 New Year’s Resolutions for Introverts: Planning for Professional Triumph in 2024.

In previous posts, we talked about the importance of self-reflecting to identify your unique gifts as an introvert, and then about the art of setting clear goals for the year ahead.

This week, we’re embarking on Resolution #3: Build Strategic Networks – an activity that sends shivers up the spines of many introverts, including myself, but doesn’t have to. Hear me out.

(If you’re interested in learning more specifically about networking and thriving at conferences as an introvert, click here). 

The Introvert’s Approach to Networking

The word “networking” is often synonymous with extroverted charisma and large-scale events, which can seem like an overwhelming and hugely unappealing prospect for introverts. But the fact is, it is often an essential component (you may be thinking “necessary evil”) of career growth and development. Further, when approached strategically and in ways that tap into your introversion – rather than fly in the face of it – networking can become a powerful and perhaps even a preferred tool in your arsenal.

The key for you, introvert, lies in quality over quantity. Instead of casting a wide net, focus on cultivating meaningful connections with colleagues, mentors, and industry professionals. Embrace the strength of smaller numbers – a realm in which introverts excel in building deep, authentic relationships.

Networking Strategies for Introverts

Here are some ways you can tap into your introversion to network and explore this resolution:

  1. Engage in smaller, intimate events: Opt for smaller gatherings or workshops where the emphasis is on quality interactions and the environment is conducive to meaningful conversations. Leverage your ability to connect deeply by attending gatherings where quality interactions take precedence over the sheer volume of people you might meet.
  2. Use your active listening skills: Introverts’ exceptional listening abilities set us apart in the networking landscape. Use this strength to gather valuable insights, understand different perspectives, and build rapport authentically with individual people. After a meeting or event, make notes for yourself in a journal or spreadsheet to capture what you learned about each person, so that you can refer back to that the next time you speak (who doesn’t love when someone remembers the names of our kids or the trip we told them we were taking?).
  3. Identify your networking goals: Set specific networking goals aligned with your professional aspirations. For example, you might seek to connect with two industry experts for mentorship, deepen relationships with three colleagues, or meet two people who are expert in some topic about which you’d like to learn more.
  4. Utilize digital platforms strategically: Leverage online platforms to network digitally – allowing the introvert in you to think a bit longer before responding. Reach out to professionals in your space on LinkedIn to make a connection. Join LinkedIn groups or follow hashtags on topics of interest so you can see who is posting on those, and then reach out to connect. Contribute meaningfully to online forums and build connections at your own pace.
  5. Craft your individual elevator pitch: Develop a concise and impactful elevator pitch that authentically communicates your strengths and professional objectives. Use this when meeting or re-connecting with people in-person or online, reducing anxiety you may have when meeting new people.
  6. Follow up with intention: After networking events or virtual interactions, follow up with the people you’ve meet. Send personalized messages expressing gratitude for the connection, mentioning something specific from your conversation, and proposing ways to collaborate or stay in touch. Introverts excel in building relationships through thoughtful such gestures.
  7. Create introvert-friendly networking opportunities: Take the initiative to create or find networking opportunities that align with you introverted comfort zone. This could involve initiating one-on-one coffee meetings, participating in an industry-specific forum, or joining online communities tailored to your professional interests.

Networking for introverts is not a numbers game; it’s a curated masterpiece. Rather than casting a wide net, imagine networking as crafting a fine tapestry of connections, each thread carefully chosen for its quality and significance. Introverts excel in the deliberate curation of relationships, where every interaction adds value and depth. Remember that strength lies not in the quantity of the connections you make, but in the thoughtful cultivation of a network that aligns with the best of who you are.

Thank you for reading. Please come back next week, when we’ll explore Resolution #4: Leverage Strong Listening Skills – The Introvert’s Secret Weapon. Until then, my fellow introverts, may your networking journey be rich with meaningful connections and strategic triumphs.