SKILLS DEVELOPMENT / 24 July 2020Soft Skills: Why They are Harder Than You Think and How You Can Acquire Them
Networking, Networking, Networking.
We are always told that this is the only way we’ll ever find a job. And while that isn’t entirely true… it’s pretty darn close. Networking with professionals in your field is without a doubt one of the best ways to get a leg up on others or even just learn a few tips. But networking can seem quite daunting. And for those introverts out there, it makes you want to run and hide. What traits comprise an introvert? According to Scientific American , it all comes down to enthusiasm and assertiveness. Introverts tend to lack these traits. They shy away from vigorous social interaction and much prefer being alone or with small company. Assertiveness refers to dominance, talkativeness, and proactivity, which an introvert is mostly the opposite of. So it would seem to be a dog eat dog world out there. Well, with some practice- even the biggest introverts can network like there’s no tomorrow!
To all of the introverts out there, here are a few tricks that will put your mind at ease:
Find your comfort and bring it with you.
Whether your comfort zone lies in being extra prepared or just having a special keepsake to hold onto… bring it along to networking events. If you like to be prepared, take time to understand who is going to be there and even write down talking points. Research the people who will be attending by looking them up on LinkedIn. Bring a cheat sheet with you that lists talking points and questions. This way, you won’t freeze up if your mind decides to go blank. Make this cheat sheet extensive- the more ideas, the better for you! (That being said, only use this to think back to when you need it. You don’t want to sound like a robot- never forget to remain GENUINE). If it’s a special keepsake such as a bracelet or a tie, wear it! Maybe it’s a picture of a loved one- slip it into your bag and bring it along. It’ll give you peace of mind and you’ll feel more at ease while you work to make new connections.
2. Be a killer listener!
If you can do anything exceptionally well, focus on your listening skills. These skills will go a long way when you actually take the time to ask questions and let others talk about themselves and their careers. Try to come up with thoughtful questions that can help you get great advice- these people are great assets to you. Just being a good listener will teach you so much! People love to talk about themselves so this will make them feel appreciated, and take some of the attention off of yourself. Good conversation skills are a two way street!
3. Carry along some “YOU” gear!
Bring some cool things with you that SHOW other people what you’re all about. Maybe some snazzy business cards you designed yourself or a portfolio of some of your best work. Check out some ways to be more creative about showing off yourself here. Do something to set yourself apart and stay fresh in other people’s minds. Give them a reason to remember you. By doing so, you are also getting great practice in stretching your creative mind to get past your personal obstacles. This is a great opportunity for you introverts out there because it’ll allow you to let your work shine in the forefront. You don’t always have to rely on your words to impress- let your portfolio do the talking for you.
If that is more your style, I would also suggest that you check out ProSky. They are killing the game at providing you with the right resources to work on projects to show employers what you’re all about. You can set up a profile and start showing how you can walk the walk, not just talk the talk. And get hired for doing so! This real-world experience will be an excellent conversation piece. Not to mention it will knock the socks off of future employers or professionals in your industry!