Extroverts appear to have an advantage when it comes to networking, at least on the surface. Their innate propensity for making relationships and approaching strangers seems ideal for gatherings like conferences and job fairs. Extroverts are known for their gregariousness and propensity to dominate conversations, yet these traits can occasionally backfire. For advice on how to succeed at networking as an extrovert, continue reading.
Think before you speak
Extroverts like to chat, but that can sometimes mean they open their mouths to speak without thinking first. It might take a bit of effort, but work on training yourself to take a deep breath and count slowly to three before speaking, especially when you’re feeling excited or nervous. Doing so will help you organize your thoughts so that you can better present yourself to potential contacts.
Along those same lines, extroverts sometimes tend to speak over others. The last impression you want to leave at a networking event is one that comes across as aggressive or even nasty. Prior to speaking, pay close attention to listening well and hearing what the other person has to say.
Make it a point to ask questions rather than making the conversation all about you, your interests, and your achievements. Make a mental list of questions prior to the event so that you can have a few topics of conversation on the top of your head when the time comes. Ensure that these are general inquiries and not private ones. Which leads us to…
Consider the audience
Bear in mind that anyone you connect with at a networking event might very well be an introvert who feels thoroughly befuddled by your extroverted ways. Err on the side of caution and avoid asking overly invasive or personal questions, which can make introverts uncomfortable. Be sure to leave plenty of space between you and your conversation partner as introverts tend to be overly aware of their personal space. And take advantage of your own chattiness if the conversation lags! If someone seems particularly shy or unwilling to talk to you, proffer one of your professionally printed business cards and move on.
Follow up with appointments
Both introverts and extroverts value those who honor their schedules, but introverts in particular have a propensity to take punctuality very seriously. Make sure you keep your follow-up appointments with anyone you met at the conference by keeping them. To impress even the most discerning adherent to schedules, arrive on time—or even early.
If you’re an extrovert, your main objective during a networking event should be to capitalize on your gregarious personality while also controlling it a little to avoid overwhelming other people. Don’t allow your nerves get the better of you; try to move carefully. Make relationships that will help you advance your career in the short and long terms by using your natural friendliness.
Making Connections: Networking Tips for Extroverts
If you’d like to find out more on networking tips for introverts, please see my previous article on the topic.