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Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Networking for Introverts

This is the discussion from the today's tweetchat about Networking for Introverts.  The answers are copied from the twitter feed.  In some cases they are in twitter shorthand.

Q1: Whats the most difficult thing about networking?
  • For me it was always how to break into a group already chatting.
  • Finding relevant contacts. Even though every contact can have a silver lining.
  • when at a networking event joining in a convo. I sometimes feel like I am butting in
  • I would say just gaining enough confidence to actually start. It can be sort of intimidating at times.
  • Finding a group that seems open and inviting, not closed is the key.
  • Starting a conversation with a total stranger.
  • The most difficult thing in regards to networking is having to step outside of your comfort zone. You'll be glad you did.
  • Making new contacts without going to mix and mingle events.
  • The initial starting of the conversation is the toughest for me
  • Telling your elevator speech over and over again
  • identifying the quality, decision making contacts or those who can connect you with them
  • Getting in and getting out are the hardest part.
  • walking up to the first person. After that the ice is broken. I look for someone standing off by themself.
  • Networking is more about how you can help them vs. how they can help YOU. Provide value first, then ask for help.
  • The dreaded elevator pitch. Saying who you are & what you do clearly and concisely.
  • When you do find a contact, it's hard to bridge the gap between personal and professional conversation
  • Identifying a networking group that can maximize your chances of securing a job.
  • Just jumping in and getting started with a conversation can be one of the hardest for me
  • getting your message across in an effective but non obtrusive way
  • Fearing rejection and feeling like you're bothering people are two big networking worries
  • Here's an article that might help you with networking: 11 Rules for Networking 
  • Discipline to keep networking. It's easy to get to a 'comfortable place' and think you're done.
  • Being nervous and talking too fast!
  • Your industry knowledge is key. At a networking event, you need to have something to offer others!

Q2: What are some ice-breakers that have worked for you?
  • Icebreaker? Ask them to tell you about themselves. People love to talk. You listen & learn, then add to the conversation.
  • Good to have some ice breakers already prepared. My favorite: Is this your first time here? If not what makes you keep coming bk
  • I stand by the food table so I can always eat if they r mean:)
  • The first icebreaker is your smile. - And a firm handshake!
  • Ice breaker: where are you originally from? 
  • Networking tip: While there's typically food there, eat before. You'll have free hands to shake & provide resumes!
  • 'playing host' by making introductions or passing out name tags is a great ice-breaker. it takes pressure off. 
  • ask them about their company and what they do for them
  • Once you meet someone, introduce them to another and then form your own "group."
  • Great ice-breaker there--talk about the food!
  • Make sure to emphasize what you can do for them instead of what they can do for you. Be your own salesperson. Show your skills.
  • I think a good ice-breaker is showing genuine interest in the other person's life during the conversation
  • Say, "Hi," and smile. Think more about how to listen vs. what to say.
  • Focus on local common ground. "Man those Seahawks were bad last weekend" or "did you hear about XZY downtown last week?"
  • Icebreaker: What are you seeing as industry/profession trends right now?
  • Reading their nametag and introducing yourself, easy!
  • having group ambassadors like in the chambers help with introductions. After that it is up to your conversation
  • a simple question like what is the last good movie you saw has always helped me
  • People love to talk about themselves. Just start with a simple question.
  • Listening happens in three stages- Receiving / Processing / Responding - 3 keys to good networking practice
  • I always look for someone who seems to be "lost" or lonely-looking...invite them in
  • sign up as a volunteer at the registration guest or a greeter at the event.
  • ask what people are passionate about, not what they do
  • My usual opening line: "Bride or groom?" 
  • ask how they like their iphone/android/blackberry or other gadget!
  • Networking is almost like that first initial date. Get to know the person you are talking to. Figure out their interests 
  • Dont look distracted with whos coming in the room, remember the person in front of you!
Q2A Where do you find networking events?
  • LinkedIn has an application "Networking Events" that you can use to find local meetings.
  • Places to look for networking events - events & groups/local yahoogoups/Social Networking site
  • check and look for networking events, chamber mixers, organization postings in community calendars.
  •, Yahoo Groups (professional associations), even community news sites/papers to find networking events

Q3: What are tips for smart schmoozing?
  • It's nice to go with a friend, but don't just talk to people you already know all night.
  • Do your research! Show excitement for previous accomplishments and seek to gain more understanding about them
  • Keep your hands and mouth free to talk... hard to create a good first impression with your hands and mouth full! 
  • Networking- shut your phone off unless you are waiting for a call from the president or your expecting wife
  • what can you offer to do to help the person with whom you are networking.
  • networking is like sales ~ 1st build relationship, then find out their needs, sell yourself as the solution
  • Be natural and go with the flow. You don't want to sound fake and/or insincere.
  • Smart Schmoozers respect others time - are precise, to the point and do not overdo
  • Smart schmoozing has to include diligent follow up. No connection established if there is no follow through.
  • If you did your homework on attendees, you know their background. State their point & casually agree with it
  • Here's an article we did on smart schmoozing.
  • When in doubt, ask questions -- people like to talk about themselves!
  • Make the conversation about them before you make it about you.
  • Always have something to offer. Be willing to pay it forward!!! Don't be a taker!!!
  • Be genuinely interested. No canned conversation. Get him/her talking about something s/he's excited about.  
  • Another huge part of schmoozing is really listening to the other person. They can tell you a lot if you pay attention
  • Also - in schmoozing - don't make promises you can't follow up on
  • Tips for smart schmoozing: eye contact, avoid alcohol, and listen more than you talk!
  • Take the cotton out of your ears and put it in your mouth, LISTEN less. Let people know you're truly interested.
  • Don't lead w/ what u want, start by finding out about them~what they do~find out if your exp./background would fit their needs
  • Collaborative conversation is good schmoozing - find what you both value and discuss key points/solutions.
  • Challenge yourself NOT to ask someone "What do you do?" You'll stay curious longer and make a better connection.
  • Be patient and be prepared to build a real relationship. Don't expect someone to offer you a job then and there.
  • Have found this article to be very helpful. 10 tips for successful business networking.
  • The key to schmoozing at a networking event is to mingle. Make sure you circle the room. You may meet some really great people.
  • Dont hit and run, nurture the relationship!

Q4: Just for fun--what are some networking horror stories?
  • Ever been stuck talking to someone who WON'T stop even to breathe, so you can't exit the conversation? It's the worst!
  • Once showed up at a networking event 45 min late, and everyone was drunk!
  • not a personal one but spilling your drink or food on someone would be awful
  • don't forget the breath mints!
  • Be PRESENT!!! Don't be checking your BlackBerry while trying to have a convo!!!
  • had a "close talker" back me up over 12 feet into a wall without realizing it!!! Pay attention to cues!
  • have been to networking events that was more like a new form of . Not good.
  • be sure you know who your speaking w. - person call me Ken for 15 mins before I corrected
  • Had a person follow me after the conversation was clearly over.

Q5: Have you or someone you know successfully networked your way to a job?
  • That is how I got my current job!
  • My husband got a job offer outside his field through networking.
  • Client called former co-worker to do "Whassup." Colleague had just changed jobs. Client now has his job. 
  • Networked through a current job to stir up offers in related fields (through vendor contacts, publishers, 3rd parties)
  • Started with a cold email based on shared background. 2 months later ended up with an out of the blue job offer
  • Definitly, and the common theme was that the person made an effort to keep a relationship with the other
  • I have networked into a new job - several times. Key is to add value, share solutions and stay in contact appropriately! 
  • I worked a job fair at my college for my last position. Spoke with Dir. Career Services, who introduced me to current co-worker.
  • Soulsearched w/client, she told network what she wanted and she landed her dream job by referral
  • Cultivated friendship @ weekly job seekers mtg. Then invited 2 another netwkg grp who gave me lead to my current job
  • I have actually gotten many positions through my alumni listserve! (That's networking indirectly, though, no?)
 Do you have any other advice to add to the questions?


  1. Its so hard to network effectively when you are an introvert. My suggestion, food ( Sometimes I think event organisers should do more with food, they provide it at an event, but what about incorporating is as in interactive icebreaker activity at events.

  2. Formerly an introverted introvert, I now relish networking as the most fun part of my job. The key? I now realize networking is truly an opportunity to give to others!