How to build your network as an introvert – practice!

How to build your network as an introvert – practice!

Building your network can be challenging for anyone, but can be especially daunting for us introverts. For those that know me, you wouldn’t say I’m an introvert, but I very much am, and through practice (lots and lots of practice) that I’ve been able to build a strong network.

Practice first in striking up a conversation then carrying/continuing the conversation.  Opportunities to practice are every, and it does not have to be perfect (and probably won’t be), but the important part will be to try and learn.  I’ll admit that when I was learning the first few conversations were very awkward and let’s be honest, just sucked.  But with each passing conversation I steadily improved, and so can you.

I recommend to start during those times where you’re around people where there will be the benefit of probably not ever seeing them again.  Most of these types of opportunities will be when you’re waiting.  You’re there anyways, and you can either keep yourself and stare into space, or you might be the “listen to your earbuds / headphones” type, or just might be engaged on other activities on your phone or whatever.  So what better time to practice and try to strike up a conversation!

The first challenge will be getting up the courage.  Here are some opportunities to practice:

While waiting for or while on transit

1. Start with something simple like asking questions that you already know the answer to:

  • How long is it to the next stop? to X station?
  • Do you happen to have the time?

2. Start to make a connection:

  • Which stop are you getting off?
    • Oh, I’ve never been to that stop, what’s there?
    • Oh, I used to visit Y at that stop, have you ever been?
  • Do you know what landmarks are around stop X?
    • Yes? oh you must have travelled there a lot?
  • Observations: that’s an interesting bag, shirt, hat, whatever, where did you get it?

3. Continue the conversation:

See if you can keep them engaged for 1 minute;  next time up to 2, 5, 10, the whole transit ride!

While waiting in line for food, coffee, something else

1. Start with something simple like asking questions that you already know the answer to:

  • Do you know what’s good on the menu?

2. Start to make a connection:

  • Oh, I like that too.  I first tried that when I was doing <fill in the blank> and  liked it because of <fill in the blank>.  what do you like about X?
  • Oh, I haven’t tried that here.  I tried something similar when I was <fill in the blank>, and that was good, so maybe I’ll try what you suggested.  I have tried the Y, have you?

3. Continue the conversation:

The conversation is generally not more than 5-10 minutes depending on the length of the line and you part ways when one of you pays and heads to where they were planning to be.

Elevators: for really short practice

1. Start with something simple like asking:

  • What’s on floor X?  Referring to the floor they selected

2. Continue the conversation:

The ride is usually too short to engage in a conversation more than a minute so elevators are a good way to practice getting the courage to initiate a conversation


The first few times you start these conversations, may not be perfect, and make sure you learn from them.  Keep practicing and you’ll be a pro in no time!


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