How to network through your shyness

What to do when you need to network to build your professional career—but hate the act of mingling? Rebekah Campbell, the CEO of a start-up called Posse, offers advice in the New York Times. 

Campbell says that although she's successful at networking—having convinced executives from Twitter, Facebook, and Google to support her company—she's introverted and struggles with having to make conversation.

"But I recognize the importance of this type of activity," she writes, "so I stick to it."

Throughout the years, Campbell developed strategies that made the process easier and even enjoyable. Writing in the Times, she recommends several of those tactics for fellow introverts.

1. Keep conversations short and plentiful. Speak with as many people as possible and always get contact information to follow up later on, one-on-one.

2. Networking doesn't always happen in large, informal groups. Engage people in a more professional, intimate setting—such as a prearranged presentation instead of a cocktail hour.

3. Quality matters. Maintain a smaller, closer group of contacts rather than impersonal connections with a larger number of people. (Campbell attributes much of her success to a network of 15 people.)

Always in mind, she writes, is that networking is not about "what this person can do for me," but rather "a realization that I've encountered someone I can learn from" (Campbell, "You're the Boss," New York Times, 10/15).


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