Networking in the age of introverts

by | Nov 15, 2022 | Arts & Life

Introverts are a unique breed. They like hibernating in their homes on a rainy day in a fort built out of books to regain energy, only coming out of hiding to go to work or school. When the term networking or icebreaker is spoken around them, they go back into hiding.

But even introverts need jobs. To appeal to students and alumni who might not think networking is for them, NAIT alumni and self-proclaimed introvert Chantelle Svenson-Lewis of Svensen Neighbour Recruiting is running a Networking for Introverts presentation on Nov.23. The event is part of NAIT’s Alumni Lifelong Learning series and will focus on how to network with confidence, leverage networking tools and provide attendees with some techniques to help them make connections.

“We won’t ask anyone to introduce themselves or do icebreakers, and it’s virtual, so it’s very easy to join,” Svenson-Lewis said about how the event would start.

Networking can be essential to students, but instead of handing off a business card to as many people as possible, making genuine connections should be the focus. “It is more about making the connections, exchanging ideas, generating a good conversation. But it’s helpful career development,” said Svenson-Lewis.

Making connections through small talk can be nerve wracking, but according to Svenson-Lewis, there are ways to build confidence in this area. 

“Preparing yourself, if you’re going to an event [do] a little bit of research, having those one liners in the back of your head so you kind of feel a bit [of] confidence if you are put on spot,” She also mentioned that posture is necessary – try to be open and avoid a closed-off stance. Bringing a buddy is not a bad idea, either. Try finding a common interest when conversing with others you do not know. If food is involved at an event, mention what you think of the food. Or, if it’s an event with many students, try to ask about what program they are enrolled in. 

The most significant piece of advice Svenson-Lewis has for building confidence is practice. “Talk to people in the grocery lines. If a cute dog walks by, ask someone about it,” she said. Networking is not about quantity, but the quality of connections.

With the world moving to a more digital age, some may view business cards as a thing of the past. While business cards are becoming endangered, they are not extinct yet. More people are using apps and QR codes. Svenson-Lewis suggests: “Have a few [business cards] on hand, but most likely you will connect to a person on LinkedIn. If they don’t have the technology, then at least you have something to give them.” Although it may induce a paralyzing fear for some introverts, networking is important in many industries. Svenson-Lewis, who is also a sessional HR instructor at NAIT, has extensive experience and tips for other introverts. To find more information about the event she is hosting, follow this link from the comfort of your book fort:

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