Networking tips for the shy or introverted

Whenever I write about networking, I get requests for tips about what techniques work best for shy people. I guess I understand why. The word networking conjures an image of a person who zips around a conference or party, chatting up what looks like a flock of followers. But many folks nurture large networks without being extroverted or outgoing. Instead they build relationships one-on-one or in small groups or devise novel ways of staying in touch. Often, they are gifted at helping others behind the scenes.

Gretchen Rubin, an author who writes the immensely popular blog, The Happiness Project, was grappling with this very question around the time she started her blog. Gretchen is very smart, especially about figuring out what she needs to do in her career. (She’s got two degrees from Yale, has written three books, and clerked for a Supreme Court Justice.) But she is an introvert. And she says that networking does not come naturally. In fact, that’s part of how we met. We belong to a women’s literary salon and one day she sent me an email asking me to have lunch. She told me she heard I was a natural networker and she wanted to understand how I thought about it. I told her she was already networking by reaching out and introducing herself to me.

{Read the rest at Yahoo!}

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