Networking for Shy People
Here’s the paradox: networking is by far the best way to learn about other companies and new job opportunities, but few job seekers want to do it. The main reasons include:
- Being uncomfortable talking to strangers
If you can relate to any of these reasons, then we have a tip for you: Play to your strengths. Most shy people are good listeners. Capitalize on that strength. Develop a strategy that gets the other person talking while you listen. You can do that by creating and memorizing five good questions.
These questions can’t be answered with a Yes or No. They are questions that everyone has an answer to, and allow the other person to talk easily about themselves. You can come up with your own (and it’s better if you do), but here are some examples:
- What kind of work do you do?
- How did you get into that field?
- What do you like most about it?
- What do you find most challenging about it?
- What would make your job easier?
- What are the big challenges facing your company in the next two years?
By having these questions memorized you will not feel like you will run out of things to talk about, because your conversation partner will do most of the talking, and you can use your listening skills. Periodically reflect back to them what you hear, and ask follow up questions. If you do, two things will happen.
First, the more they talk, the more they think you are terrific. Sadly, that’s how most people are wired.
Second, they will invariably ask how they can help you. That’s the graceful opening that allows you to ask about companies or job openings.
Try it! It’s not so hard. But like everything in life, practice makes perfect.
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