Camille Styles

Living Kindly

An Introvert’s Guide To Networking Like An Extrovert

April 11th, 2017

Hello, my name is Kelly and I’m a self-proclaimed introverted-extrovert. If you know me personally, you’re probably surprised to read this. You likely know me as the outgoing girl that networks on the daily and can easily engage a room of strangers. The girl that enjoys public speaking, can host a meet-up at the drop of a hat, and does well on a panel. And you’re not wrong. While I actually enjoy all of those things, it takes me a bit to warm up and get there. But once I’m there, I’m fully there. It’s rare that anyone sees the shy side, but it’s there. Thankfully, I’ve learned to embrace it and work through it.

If it’s true what they say — that you’re a product of your childhood — then this all makes sense. Growing up, I was the kid who was loud, funny, inclusive, highly curious, and did well with an audience. In high school I was voted “Class Clown” and “Most Talkative,” and in my sorority I was the Social Chair. Are you following? But all of this worked to my advantage because I was in an environment that was familiar and I had various security blankets at any given point: family, friends, and places. Though, remove any one of those variables, and I was slightly timid, highly observant, and often times cautious. I couldn’t fully let loose or commit to an experience unless I knew the situation or felt comfortable learning more about it.

Ironically enough, I chose a career that requires a lot of networking, community building, public speaking and situations where I’m forced outside of my comfort zone. Like anything, the more you practice, the better you are. Instead of having my shy side stop me from doing cool things or meeting great people, I learned early on to flip the script and embrace it. Here are my modest tactics for stepping outside my comfort zone when it comes to networking.

featured photo via ashley sargent price

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20 Comments under :: An Introvert’s Guide To Networking Like An Extrovert
  1. Marta says:

    Really amazing post, extremely helpful.

  2. Tory says:

    Relatable. Truth-telling. Thanks, Kelly.

  3. Jenn says:

    Love this post! I’ve read so many posts on introversion and anxiety but it’s always nice to be reminded that it takes practice and initiative to be outside of your comfort zone. I also really enjoyed the conversation questions you included…I’ll be sure to use them!

  4. npharney says:

    I think coming prepared with a couple of questions is key. It’s made networking so much easier for me, and it really puts the ball in the other person’s court and helps evade the awkward silences I hate the most. But don’t get so set on asking your questions that you don’t listen to what the other person is saying!

    – Natalie

  5. elephay1 says:

    Being outside the confort zone is the best exercise. When I went to study abroad to the US I was scared I wouldn’t make friends… What worked for me was stop overthinking. And just go for it.

    Great post!

    xx, Melissa

  6. Marina says:

    This is so helpful! Do you have any advice on following up with the people you meet?

  7. Ted says:

    Gosh that’s clever l never thought about this !

  8. Great post! I try to do some homework in advance about people who may be attending the event. This way, I can come prepared with some specific convo starters. Marla Isackson,

  9. I love all of this advice so much! It’s super practical + helpful. Thanks for sharing!

    / Maria

  10. Jamie M says:

    I loved reading this! I’m an introvert and it was SO refreshing it was to finally hear some advice on how to embrace my introversion. Far too often, I’m seeing advice from people that subtly shame people for being introverted, making us feel like there’s something wrong with it and ways to “fix” it in order to succeed in life. So thank you!! Great advice, too 🙂

  11. Mary says:

    Loved this post! I’m totally going to use the “What are you excited about these days?” sometime soon. I hate asking people what they do and this is such a great insight and “real” conversation alternative!

  12. Hannah says:

    Loved this post! While I’m a borderline extrovert and adore social events and parties and networking, I have always been uncomfortable attending events on my own. I like to have that “safety blanket” of a friend so I know I will never be standing around without someone to talk to. Your statement “if you’re not spending time being uncomfortable, you’re likely not changing, evolving and learning” really resonated with me! I definitely want to keep growing and evolving.

  13. The title would be more supportive of introverts if it said “AN INTROVERT’S GUIDE TO NETWORKING LIKE AN INTROVERT” – introverts don’t have to be extroverts. Introverts are just fine as they are. The tips are good, but the title again reinforces the muddle-headed view that the extrovert way is the best way. It is not. It is just different.

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