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Webinar #12: Networking for Everyone (including Introverts)

Updated: Dec 15, 2021

Your social capital, which is made up of your networks, friendships, relationships, does matter. Studies have shown how your social capital can positively impact your academic citations, job satisfaction and career success. It is worth assessing your different types of networks and being strategic about how you develop them.

Sharon shared research on social network theory and showed that having three different sorts of networks tend to be important:

  1. Strong, close ties with a small professional network for advice and support;

  2. A wide range of 'weak' ties (looser connections with people) for access to diverse knowledge and ideas ; and

  3. Strategic relationships that connect, or broker, other people and groups with each other.

More tips from Sharon:

  1. Proactively build your networks. Recognise that your mindset and attitude towards networking matter.

  2. Consider what you can offer (the importance of reciprocity)

  3. Be targeted: Who are my best prospects, where can I meet my best prospects, and whom (exactly) do I want to meet?

Some tips for introverts

  • Volunteer to help at the event/ be on a panel/ be the chair

  • Find ‘open’ configurations

  • Arrive early

  • Set a goal

  • Listen/ pay attention / perspective-take

  • Ask questions / be curious

  • Self-disclosure

  • Plan some openers

  • Do some homework

  • Follow up key connections (with something to give)

Source: Misner, How to Network Like a Pro

Sharon Friel’s tips as someone who considers herself as a shy and introverted person

  • Embrace your nervousness and being uncomfortable and at the edge of your comfort zone

  • Trust that people will make physical space for you to join in

  • Be clear on who you want to be and how that translates in your work and demeanour

  • Do not make networking about yourself but about the issues at stake in your work

  • Be open to the ways of engaging of different colleagues

  • Follow up with an email (eg. giving thanks and showing appreciation) to (re)connect. This is a great way to be on others’ radars.

  • Ask for help - reach out to colleagues, they may open up possibilities for you

Nanda Dasgupta’s tips

  • Reflect on the qualities and aspirations as a person and professional - who do you want to be?

  • Consider the purpose of the networking opportunities (is for me, my health/well-being, my work, my department?)

  • It is ok to be uncomfortable in a networking environment: it is a good sign of your motivation and wanting to do your best

  • Do your homework: be familiar with the background/research of your potential connections

  • Carefully consider how you can approach specific people you would like to reach out to (eg. discuss a paper/study and link it to your research)

  • Enquire about how others can help you connect to more colleagues

  • Be aware of preconceived ideas and how it affects people's interaction with you; e.g. people may want to exchange pleasantries to be "nice" but it is best to steer the conversation towards your research/expertise so that it is in line with your strengths and aspirations.

  • Maintain connections via professional networking platforms and social media and use opportunities like end of year/new year/achievements/birthdays to keep in touch

Networking for Everyone webinar slides
Download • 1.67MB


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