For introverts, balancing family obligations with professional networking can be challenging. Introverts have an energy conservation issue. We (yes, I am in fact an introvert) restore our energy by being by ourselves. Which is why when you’re a working mom and an introvert you may feel exhausted all the time. People at work constantly demand your attention and your kiddos and spouses also require your attention and energy. How then are introverts supposed to further along their careers or grow their businesses if they are too tired to network?
It’s no secret that networking is important for career advancement. But since it can be draining for introverts who need to recharge in quiet environments, we introverts need a different strategy. Here are 9 strategies that allow introverts to save energy for family obligations while effectively networking to improve their career.
1. Prioritize and Plan Ahead
It’s important to recognize that networking doesn’t have to be an overwhelming experience. I know what you’re thinking. The last thing I want to do is be stuck in a bland ballroom trying to make awkward conversation with people I don’t know while simultaneously wishing I wasn’t there in the first place.
Here’s the good news. You don’t have to do that. The first step for introverts is to prioritize their networking efforts and plan ahead. Identify which networking events or opportunities are most important for your career goals and interests and focus on those. This could include industry conferences, local networking groups, or even virtual meetups. Then, plan ahead and schedule these events into your calendar so that you have time to prepare.
2. Prepare for Each Event
Once you’ve identified potential events, take the time to prepare beforehand. Research the event and its attendees, and set specific goals for what you hope to accomplish and who you would like to meet. This will help you feel more confident and focused, and will also make it easier to strike up conversations with others.
3. Set Boundaries
Setting boundaries is key to managing your energy as an introvert. Be honest with yourself about how much networking you can handle in a given week or month. Set limits on the number of events you attend, the length of time you stay, and the amount of socializing you engage in. This will help you conserve your energy and avoid burnout.
4. Be Selective
When choosing networking opportunities, be selective. Look for events that align with your interests and goals, and prioritize quality over quantity. Instead of attending every networking event that comes your way, choose a few high-quality events where you can make meaningful connections.
5. Network Online
Networking doesn’t always have to happen in person. As someone who hates commuting, virtual meetups are some of my favorite events to attend. Like me, other Introverts can leverage online tools to network from the comfort of their own home. LinkedIn, Twitter, and other social media platforms can be great ways to connect with other professionals in your field. You can also participate in online communities and groups related to your industry to expand your network.
6. Find Introvert-Friendly Networking Opportunities
There are many networking opportunities that are introvert-friendly. For example, attending a conference or workshop where you can learn new skills and interact with others in a structured environment can be less overwhelming than a large networking event. Even volunteering events for an organization or a cause that aligns with your values is an excellent way to expand your network without trying too hard. Additionally, one-on-one coffee dates, or even mani-pedi outings, with other female professionals can be a great way to network without feeling overwhelmed and still doing something you enjoy.
7. Focus on Quality Connections
When networking, focus on building quality connections rather than trying to meet as many people as possible. Introverts tend to thrive in deeper, more meaningful conversations, so take the time to get to know the people you’re networking with. This will help you build stronger connections that can lead to long-term career opportunities.
8. Take Breaks and Recharge
Networking can be tiring for introverts, so it’s important to take breaks and recharge as needed. This could mean taking a few moments to step away from a networking event and find a quiet space to relax, or scheduling time for self-care after a busy week of networking. Remember, it’s okay to take time for yourself and recharge your energy.
9. Follow Up
Following up after a networking event is crucial for building relationships and advancing your career. Effective tools for introverts include using email or social media to follow up with new connections and continue the conversation. This allows you to maintain connections without feeling overwhelmed by too much face-to-face interaction.
Yes, networking is important for career advancement and business development. But, it doesn’t have to be overwhelming. By using these strategies, introverts can build strong relationships and advance their careers without sacrificing their energy or time with their families.
If you’re curious about how to start or develop a networking strategy, book a strategy session with me here.
Always in your corner,