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​7 Tips for Networking as an Introverted College Student

admin | Thursday August 4, 2016

As an introvert, I think networking is pretty much the worst. First of all, it’s tedious. It lasts too long and not a whole lot seems to happen. Second, it’s awkward. There’s no getting around the inevitable awkward feelings that come with shaking hands with a bunch of strangers, most of whom you’ll never see again anyway. You don’t always know what to say to these people, but you feel like you have to say something. Plus, as a college student, it's not always easy to know where to start.

It’s tiring too. After walking around and making small talk with people for even a little bit of time, I felt drained. So I’ve come up with a little list of tips for young introverts to get through networking!

  1. Have a few conversation starters prepared. I’m not saying you should plan everything you say, but the whole experience is less stressful if you know you’re going to go up to someone and start talking about a specific topic.
  2. Don’t feel like you have to stay in a dead-end conversation. If it’s going nowhere, you can and should politely excuse yourself.
  3. Take a break if you need to! There’s no reason to be uncomfortable the whole night. Go wash your hands or grab a snack or do something.
  4. Don’t just talk to other college students. Cast a wider net! Talk to “adult” professionals, especially if they’re in fields you’re interested in!
  5. Resist looking at your phone too often. It’s much better to be present in the moment. You definitely won’t enjoy yourself if you’re looking at your phone the whole time.
  6. Know you’re not the only one who feels a bit phony. Nearly every introvert I know feels like they’re being fake when they’re networking. You’re not as alone as you think. Don’t think of what you’re doing as fake, just think of it as an opportunity to meet a few people with shared interests and goals.
  7. If a conversation gets further than small talk, enjoy it! Really get to know the person, and have a conversation about a mutual interest. These conversations have to begin with small talk, but the people you really talk to are the ones who will remember you in the future, which is what networking is truly all about.

That’s it really, now get out there and start making lasting connections!

Tags: Networking

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