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June 20, 2013

Networking Tips for Shy People

Networking is an important key for building professional relationships and doing it effectively can positively impact your career. Despite its value for business, networking is intimidating for many people. If introducing yourself to strangers, making small talk and asking for contact information is more than you think you can handle, here are a few tips for successful networking even if you are shy.

Do Some Prep Work
If possible, prepare before a networking event by meeting a few people online or through a connected contact. For example, if you work within a specific industry, you can find a blog or visit a social media group that focuses on your niche. This is one way you often can connect to local people before walking into a room full of strangers. As an added bonus, many of these virtual contacts can offer you an introduction to others who can become beneficial contacts for your career.

Remember to Smile
This tip may seem obvious; however, introverts often take networking so seriously that it may show on their face. To avoid looking overly serious during a networking event, be sure to smile. This one simple move instantly makes you more approachable and interesting to others. If you need a reminder, recruit a friend to signal you by flashing a grin your way.

Carry Business Cards
For shy people, asking for contact information at the end of a meeting may be intimidating. To keep contact with new connections, always carry business cards, even when you are not expecting to meet someone new. This way, you will have a handy way to provide your contact information to the new people you meet while making it clear that you would like to meet again in the future. Offer your card to them and ask for theirs. Make sure you follow up within a day or two to firm up the connection.

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