Many people dislike networking, finding it to be a daunting or even uncomfortable task, but it remains a critical element of professional development. This aversion often stems from a misunderstanding of what networking entails and a fear of forced interaction. In truth, networking does not have to be about making the hardest sell or the most contacts in the shortest time; it can be a rewarding experience that opens doors to new opportunities and gives your career a lift.

By redefining networking as a genuine effort to build relationships based on mutual interests and respect, we can shift the focus from quantity to quality. We have outlined a couple of strategies that allow you to engage in networking in ways that don’t conflict with your personal boundaries, engage your strengths, and still achieve solid professional benefits.

Whether you’re an introvert, someone with limited time, or simply new to networking, let’s turn networking from a dreaded task into a fulfilling part of your professional journey.

Here are a few tips to help you make new contacts that will boost your IT career, even if networking is not your favourite pastime.

Reframe Your View of Networking

One of our best tips for people who dislike networking is to reframe how you see networking in order to make it less daunting. Networking can sometimes feel like putting yourself out there in front of a stranger and asking for a favour (though, counterintuitively, that may be the best way to get someone to like you). However, the most useful professional connections are those of mutual benefit to both parties.

Rather than viewing it as a one-sided encounter, focus on the value you can add to the other person. Even if it’s just acting as a sounding board that they can bounce ideas off, you have something to offer. Remembering this will help you feel more confident and view networking as a two-way partnership.

Adapt Your Approach

Whilst formal networking events and large tech conferences are great places to find new contacts in the IT industry, don’t feel pressured to step out into a setting that intimidates you. When it comes to networking tips for introverts, we often advise our candidates to adapt their approach and find environments where they can put their best foot forward. Whether it’s a casual chat over coffee or discussing innovation with a peer at a tech expo – identifying situations where you feel comfortable will help to set you up for networking success.

Similarly, if the idea of meeting other IT professionals alone makes you anxious, consider bringing along a friend or colleague (where appropriate) who can help you strike up a conversation and then bow out when you get more confident.

Find a Point of Connection

At the end of the day, networking is about finding something in common. During every interaction, look out for topics or issues around which you have shared interests. You’ll be surprised how simply saying “I feel the same way” can quickly establish a connection and give you a topic for further conversation.

This helps you to see the acquaintance as a person, not just a contact, and makes it easier to build a valuable long-term relationship. Keep in mind that the people you meet are in the same situation as you, also probably dislike networking, and have similar interests in your industry, which can help calm your nerves and avoid feeling too overwhelmed to strike up a conversion.

Follow-up Strategies

Effective follow-up is crucial in turning new acquaintances into lasting professional relationships. After meeting someone, send a personalized email or message expressing your appreciation for the conversation and mentioning specific points discussed. Why not schedule a follow-up meeting or a casual coffee can keep the conversation going? It’s crucial to maintain a balance between being persistent and respectful of the other person’s time. Setting reminders to reach out periodically can help keep the relationship warm, even if there’s no immediate need or opportunity to collaborate.

The Role of Networking in Personal Branding

Networking is important to your personal branding as it helps you establish your reputation within your industry. Communicate your values, skills, and passions, to help shape how others perceive you – engage in discussions and share knowledgeable content from your experience. Networking also provides opportunities to learn from others and stay updated on industry trends to sharpen up your expertise and authority. Consistently presenting yourself in a manner that aligns with your brand during networking interactions will only help your professional image and open up more opportunities.

Networking Myths Debunked

Networking is often misunderstood, plenty of people won’t realise its true potential because they won’t try for fear of failing. Contrary to the common belief that networking is inherently self-serving and manipulative, it is actually about mutual benefits and building lasting relationships. It doesn’t only happen at large, formal events. In reality, effective networking can occur in various settings, from small gatherings to daily activities, which allows for more natural and less pressured interactions.

NB: The idea that networking yields immediate results is misleading; building a meaningful network requires time and the development of relationships that grow organically.

The power of it is highlighted in countless success stories, and surrounding yourself with these stories/people can be very motivating. Think about your mate or a professional you know through someone else who secured their dream job by connecting with the right person at an industry conference, or a startup founder who found their ideal business partner at an informal workshop. A bit like your peer group, aim to surround yourself with people in the image of where you want to be (in a professional sense).


  • What are some low-pressure ways to network?
    Walking meetings or virtual coffee chats can be less daunting than traditional networking events.
  • How do I network if I’m naturally shy?
    Focus on one-on-one interactions or smaller group settings where you feel more comfortable.
  • What are the signs of a fruitful networking connection?
    Mutual interest in staying in contact and sharing opportunities can indicate a beneficial connection.
  • How often should I network to see tangible results?
    Regular, consistent networking is key—aim for at least one networking activity per month.
  • What are the common mistakes to avoid in networking?
    Avoid dominating conversations or neglecting to follow up after making new contacts.
  • Can networking be entirely virtual?
    Yes, especially with current digital tools and platforms, virtual networking can be just as effective as in-person interactions.

For those who dislike networking, there are plenty of strategies to make this essential professional activity more manageable and less stressful. By rethinking your approach and focusing on incremental progress, networking can become a valuable part of your career development toolkit.

For more professional networking tips or support with your search for IT jobs in Christchurch, get in touch with the team at Sourced.

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