We all know networking is a career essential, making the rounds at many business lunches and cocktails or dazzling at a countless stream of conferences and seminars can seem daunting! However, successful networking isn’t just for extroverts! So what can an introvert do to get ahead?

Be yourself

If you’re an introvert and you break out in hives at the thought of networking, stop trying to force yourself into the extrovert mold.  It’s not just because you’re shy. It’s that you’re daunted by noisy and overwhelming events—that doesn’t make you any less of an asset or a good connection.  You can still achieve what extroverts do and stay true to your introverted, crowd-averse nature. The best way there is to be as prepared as possible. Set your goals for an event. Think about what do you want to achieve or what sort of companies or people sidle up. Write down and rehearse handful questions. The more confident you are, the more you are effective when networking.

Go your own way

You need to re-define networking and do it their own way. Networking doesn’t have to look like networking or being related to your work neither. Create an “interest group” of friends or co-workers. Throw up your own “networking events” or host dinner parties. You will build your own networking environment by paying more attention to the loose connections in your everyday life (people from the coffee shop, gym or your community group). By sticking primarily to what you’re comfortable with, creating networking goals and stepping outside your comfort zone you can cultivate a formula for networking that works for you.

Ace the 5 Second Rule

Here’s a fantastic way to transform networking into a game: Set up a rule for yourself that, when you make eye contact with someone, you must walk up to them and talk within 5 seconds. Afterward, add another rule. You can’t do anything else till this chat happens. The fear of what might happen or what other people thought of keeps many people trapped. This rule will help you to overturn what holds us back from taking action. Eventually, you will find out that you are the director of your own play.

Leverage Your Listening Skills

Once you’ve landed yourself in a conversation, hone your natural strength- introvert listening skill! Usually, when people think they’re listening, they’re actually preparing their response. The new research shows that the brain can’t effectively handle more than two complex, related activities at once. When the brain tries to do two things at once, it divides and conquers dedicating one-half of our gray matter to each task and the prefrontal cortex will always discard one.  Be more mindful of the way how you communicate and remember you don’t need to set up a connection; it will come later. Instead of jumping in with your personal experience, focus on the other person and show that what he is saying is important. Proactively choose to be curious, chill out and then ask questions. Once when gathering all of the information about people skills, passions and strengths, you will be able to build a connection. In-person networking can be extremely rewarding: there’s nothing like feeling that “click” when you genuinely connect with someone.

Don’t worry so much

Most of all, don’t worry so much and always trust your intuition. It’s not about becoming a fake extrovert. Think before talking. Observe before you ask. Use “superpower” introvert skills. Skills like self-knowledge, listening or social media prowess are your best secret weapons is your reserve.  Your ability to think outside the box and you prone to make their own rules because you have no desire to conform to society’s ones. This is extremely fertile ground for the development of innovative ideas of networking.

Successful networking can never be claimed with just one aspect of attitude(introvert/extrovert). It has to be coupled with many other factors. Nonetheless, feel honored when you are fundamentally an introvert. Your presence at networking events is a gift for people.