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An edited and revised book on public speaking for introverts based on the articles from this site

Networking For Shy People

You’ve probably heard “its not what you know its who you know”.  This is a fact of life, and something which trips up every shy person.  No matter how much we have to give, if no one knows we exist, or we have the skills, then we’re ever going to get on in the world.

So networking is a must, even though when you’re shy, you would rather die than take part in the inevitable circle of smalltalk and humiliation.

But it doesn’t have to be like that.  Below are my tips and tricks to get you networking, known and out there:

1.  Figure out how you like to communicate.  I’m shy, but I’m shyer n some forms of communication than others.  In particular I hate phone calls and instand messaging, but like email and twitter (and can cope face to face).  So any strategy you employ should focus on the forms of communication you like.  This one isn’t about overcoming your fears, its about working with what you’ve got.

2. Find a champion to network for you.  Many extraverts (and especially the more self aware extraverts) know that what they bring to the table are their communication skills, and their ability to link others.  All you have to do is find the one extravert who will want to go out and market you to the world, and they will take on lots of your networking challenges for you.  (incidentally, your champion can  but needn’t be – your boss.  If you can tell your boss you have a skill that you’re good at and would like to use, a good boss wil give you every opportunity to use it – and if you’re any good, will brag about what he is achieving with you in his team)

3. Sell yourself online: You don’t have to tell anyone you know – in case you’re scared to people discovering that you’re bragging about yourself, or producing imperfect web pages – but put something – anything – up online.  A web page, be it a blog or a site containing information you’re a specialist in can make you an expert in they eyes of the world.  And you won’ be doing the networking, google will.

4. Go up to someone shy offer your handshake and say “Hi, I’m Ben (or John, or Sarah, or whatever your name is)”.  I picked this up from my extravert wife:  whenever she wants to meet someone, she just goes up to them and introduces herself.  usually it works.  But it wrks better when there are shy people around – at parties, conferences, meetings – anywhere where someone is standing in a corner alone.  Because when you’ve been standing alone, you’ve been grateful for the opportunity to talk to someone friendly - haven’t you. So offer this to someone else.  All your fears will go away when they respond positively back to you