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Networking for Introverts: 4 Secrets to Meet New People

imagesNetworking can be, at times, awkward and even produce anxiety. The thought of reaching out to people you don’t know to build potential business relationships can seem daunting. How do those “super connector” social butterflies carry themselves with such confidence while others stammer and stutter?

As it turns out, there’s a psychology to relationship building that will not only help you feel more secure when meeting new people, but will also transform your stack of business cards into meaningful connections that may advance your career.

Here are four ways to leverage what we know about human behavior and the brain to become a better networker and to create relationships that last:

1. Position Yourself to Stand Out

Catch people’s eye by standing near the appetizers. Everyone loves food and at events, it’s usually where people’s eyes turn to automatically as they scan the room. Standing by the grub will get you noticed. Plus, a constant stream of people will circulate around you making it easy to float seamlessly from conversation to conversation.

Body language also plays a big role in how people interpret your confidence level. Stand tall, nod while others speak, and keep a smile on your face. These behaviors all project curiosity, self-assurance and approachability, which will keep others engaged and interested.

What you wear can similarly impact others’ perception of you. Wearing bright attention-getting colors, especially red, will project energy, assertiveness and action.

2. Be Unforgettable

Want to create a lasting impression on someone? Make a point to talk with that person either first or last. Think about it this way: Who was the first you interacted with yesterday? The last person? Easy to remember, right? Now, try to name every other person you had an interaction with throughout the day.

Because of the serial position effect, we can most easily recall the first and last things we do, while the in-between activities tend to get muddled. If you make a point to talk to someone at the very beginning or end of the night, you’re more likely to make a memorable impression.

3. Ask Uncommon Questions

What’s the first thing someone typically asks to start a conversation? You guessed it: “So what do you do?” Because we expect most networking openers to ask about our professional work, one of the best ways to stand out and build a stronger connection with someone is to ask uncommon questions. Ask them questions about where they grew up, where they went to school, their hobbies — anything that could reveal a common bond.

You could even do a little research on the person beforehand (that’s what Google and social media are for) to figure out what makes them tick and find some common ground. Chances are people will actually feel flattered if you actually did some research. Getting personal with someone will show that you’re taking a genuine interest in them.

4. Speak with Power

There is nothing more annoying than a conversation filled with “like’s” and “um’s.” These fillers weaken your speech and can give the impression that you don’t really know what you’re talking about. Make a conscious effort to speak clearly and concisely.

Also, try to match your tone with the person you’re chatting with. If they speak very loudly with a lot of hand gestures, try to match their energy. For example, you can do this by using more voice inflections and nodding your head more vigorously. Because we unconsciously prefer people who are similar to us, it’s a great way to build rapport.

Remember, confidence and relationship building are not skills we’re born with. It takes time, effort, and practice to become more comfortable with your networking skills, but rest assured these are skills you can develop over time.

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Networking for Introverts: 4 Secrets to Meet New People

Melody Wilding, LMSW

Melody Wilding, LMSW is a performance coach, licensed social worker, and has a Masters from Columbia. She helps established and rising managers and executives advance in their careers. Her clients work at companies like Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, HP, and Deloitte. She also helps entrepreneurs take bold steps to grow their businesses. Melody has helped over 10,000 smart, self-aware people like you. Her coaching gives you actionable strategies to reach your goals. You get concrete steps to overcome the complex struggles of success. Melody loves arming ambitious people with tools and tactics to boost their confidence. She can teach you skills for assertiveness and influence. Her specialties include better managing your emotions at work. Melody also teaches Human Behavior at CUNY Hunter College in NYC. She writes about psychology and careers for Inc., Forbes, Fast Company, and more. Click here and grab the FREE COURSE to go from insecure to unstoppable confidence 5 DAYS TO FREEDOM FROM SELF-DOUBT..

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APA Reference
Wilding, M. (2018). Networking for Introverts: 4 Secrets to Meet New People. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 28, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Jul 2018 (Originally: 8 Feb 2016)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Jul 2018
Published on Psych All rights reserved.