The Networking Guide
for International Work: Part 7
International Networking for Shy People and Introverts
In recent decades, networking in the US has become associated with the extroverted personality of the stereotypical corporate executive.
But recent research has demonstrated that introverts have invaluable skills in cultivating meaningful relationships inside and outside the workplace.
In addition, most cultures outside the US value the style of introverts and the relationships they build. Extroverts can be seen as ego-centric and self promotional. I’ve observed this pattern across various cultures. In Mexico, for example, humilde (humble/self-effacing) is a high compliment in most contexts. The Brits I know seem to treasure the soft-spoken intellectual over the louder “take action first” types. And various cultures, from Vietnam to rural Zambia, are based on a quiet commitment to the collective good, not the supersonic boom of outgoing and assertive individuals.
Therefore, shy people and introverts should not think that international networking is out of reach. Au contraire, introverts have many advantages over extroverts in building mutually supportive relationships. Of the techniques mentioned in other sections of this series, here are top techniques that work well for shy people:
- Maximize connections with people you already know. Rather than starting with cold calls and new contacts, aim to re-connect with people you already know who have international experience.
- Emphasize quality of relationships, not quantity. Rather than trying to reach out to dozens of new people, cultivating a deeper connection with just a few may be more rewarding… and more helpful in finding a job.
- Reach out through email and internet. If calling people intimidates you, and meeting with people drains you, you can organize your job search around internet research and email outreach.