The Shy Networker

Do you avoid conversations like the plague? Perhaps work up a cloud of sweat on your forehead whenever you're left alone in social gatherings? If you answered yes to either one or both questions, you are probably an introvert. People who are generally shy tend to be mediocre if not lousy networkers. And unless you overcome this general feeling of shyness, any business or startup you attempt to lift off the ground will struggle.

Keep Conversations Short

For an introvert; it can be difficult to establish a deep connection with people they meet at events. Try to keep conversations with each person short yet meaningful. Avoid trying to extend a conversation merely for the sake of it. If there's nothing left to talk about, let the person go and find someone else to strike a conversation with. But before you let them go, make sure you get their contact information. This allows you to follow up with them later on and reach out for a casual one-on-one coffee meet up or something of that sort.

Focus On One Thing

Most introverts exhibit the ability to lock onto something and just maintain focus for as long as they need to. This characteristic advantage should be used to gain a competitive edge against extroverted competitors. Identify the approach you are good at and stick to it. For instance, if you are generally shy to speak publicly, try to pitch your business ideas to investors and colleagues in a one-on-one setting. If you can nail these private meetings and presentations, you can still successfully build a network.

Practice Good Body Language

Although business is notorious for its serious, no wiggle room type of environment, you shouldn't look so serious during your presentations or informal meet ups. It's fine to loosen up and be off your guard. In fact, smiling and looking relaxed makes you more approachable. When conversing with people, make sure to make and maintain eye contact. It is a normal bodily reaction to redirect your eyes to something else when the situation is uncomfortable. Remind yourself that strong eye contact is a sign of respect and confidence. If people do not sense these two qualities in you, they'll probably not want to be in your network.

Practice Regularly

Networking is not an inborn trait. It is a skill that requires consistent practice to master and wield effectively. Practice networking techniques you learn with friends and family members and then test it out at parties or seminars. You can also work with executive coaches or counselors to get a professional assessment of your situation and be directed to the right path.

Hog Information

It seems like a bad thing, but being a knowledge base of relevant and critical information actually draws people to you, rather than the other way around where you follow people almost to the verge of stalker mentality. Read updated books and take short courses that keep you mentally sharp. Pretty soon, you'll be the go-to person for anything and everything related to your professional field.