For introverts, there’s nothing more draining than a big social event. With every exchange of pleasantries, you feel your life force sapping out of you, and you want nothing more than to go home and recharge. Unfortunately, in the professional and business world, everyone has to network.
You can’t keep hiding behind the drinks table while filling up on hors d’oeuvres, hoping no one sees you. Luckily, through planning and adopting the right mindset, you can make networking a breeze as an introvert.
1. Connect before to the event.
Introducing yourself to a stranger and striking up a conversation is no easy task for anyone, let alone an introvert. To help make networking easier, research who will be at the event. Then, choose who you want to network with and contact them beforehand.
Introducing yourself via email or social media is much easier than approaching them face to face. It helps if you scan their account for topics you can talk to them about.
2. Get rest the night before.
Shyness is a part of introversion, but that’s not all it is. It actually refers to what recharges a person.
Staying alone and enjoying your own time refreshes you while socializing drains your energy. Networking will take a lot, so sleep well the night before an event.
3. Prepare questions and topics.
What makes networking so nerve-wracking is not knowing where to steer the conversation. That’s how you end up with those dreaded awkward pauses. What do you say next?
You can confidently network when you come prepared. Make a mental list of all topics and questions you want to cover with people you want to connect with. Think of something relevant but still unique enough so they’ll remember you even after the event.
4. Don’t overthink.
You may think you need to amp up the charisma or prepare a funny anecdote to network. In reality, if it doesn’t come naturally to you, it will most likely fall flat. Your best bet is just to be yourself. Don’t overthink how you’ll present yourself to others. Instead, bring out your best qualities and let them speak for themselves.
For instance, think about how you can use your persuasive or collaborative skills to convince the other person to work with you in the future. Networking is a great opportunity to flex and develop your soft skills, which can benefit you in other areas.
5. Don’t stretch yourself too thin.
When it comes to networking, quality is often better than quantity. If you’re an introvert, you’ll save energy by concentrating on connecting with just a few rather than trying to get to know everyone. This method can also help you make higher-quality connections since you have time to really get to know people.
6. Learn how to exit gracefully.
Not all conversations will go as planned. Sometimes, it can be awkward or go in directions you don’t want it to. In other situations, the conversation went very well, but you simply don’t know how to end it.
When networking, you must know the art of the graceful exit. Thank the person for the conversation and make plans to meet them. You can also refer to something they mentioned earlier. If they mention they’re speaking at a summit that weekend, you can wish them good luck and tell them how excited you are to hear what they say. The key is to end the conversation with a clear statement.
7. Call for backup.
Your friends and colleagues may be well-connected and already know the people you want to connect with. Ask someone you trust to introduce you to the right people. Their introduction can also help improve others’ perception of you since they are technically vouching for you.
Networking For Introverts
Networking is an essential part of professional life. People need to make connections to foster personal and professional growth. For those who thrive more when solitary, networking is a big challenge. However, if you come prepared and understand how to use your social battery best, you can accomplish it easily and effectively.