When was the last time you went to a networking event? If you identify as an introvert, the answer might be long ago. If yes, you need to leave your comfort zone and attend more networking events. In the professional world, networking is necessary. It allows you to meet new people with similar interests and opinions. It exposes you to new job opportunities that are more appropriate for you.
Moreover, industry leaders or entrepreneurs should always network, as it allows them to meet potential candidates, investors, vendors, and more. However, it is understandable that introverts find it challenging to network. After all, if you are not a social butterfly, meeting and talking to people in a room full of strangers is intimate. Yet, for professional success, you need to network. Thus, the article below discusses a few tips for introverts to network effectively.
Know your purpose for going to the networking event.
Before you go to the networking event, knowing your purpose helps. For instance, if there is a sponsored event by your company head, you know to meet the boss and mingle with a few people. Or if there is a conference, you know your purpose is to represent the company. But when it comes to networking events, what do you do? If you are not sure about the purpose, you may feel anxious. To reduce it, you should know whether you must meet with investors or network with like-minded people. Or you must find better candidates for your business. Knowing all this allows you to prepare yourself efficiently.
Find an introvert-dominated corner and host people there.
When you go to a networking event, scout the area properly. You will find a corner where you might see other introverts. You can join them, as none of these introverts will stare at you or make you uncomfortable. You can start talking one-on-one and meet people who come there. For instance, if you find a nice corner near the bar, you can sit there. Many extroverts who come there for drinks provide you with an excellent opportunity to network. You and other introverts can make it your corner and host extroverts; some real networking will undoubtedly happen.
Choose an online networking event.
The last few years have made online networking a thing. You can use LinkedIn to connect with people in your industry or others. You can constantly be in touch with them or build a rapport with them by sending comments or emails. You do not have to meet them in person for the same reason. Once you feel comfortable, you can meet in person. Otherwise, by using social media platforms or attending virtual events, you can network with ease. One tip is to order business cards to send to people you network with online. It allows the other person to keep the communication channel open through emails, texts, or even phone calls.
Research the people coming to the event to network with them.
Finding the people coming to the event can make networking easier for you. It helps you know who the people are that you want to talk to. So, you can prepare yourself by creating a list of questions and pitches to introduce yourself. Use this guide to learn how to introduce yourself at a networking event. You can practice the talk at home to build up the confidence to go and talk. Once you start talking to one person, it becomes easier to talk to more people.
Ask people you know for help.
One of the best ways to network for introverts is to ask people they know for help. Ask your colleagues, friends, or family to introduce you to people, perfect for networking. It expands your network without you having to make small talk.
Always take breaks to recharge yourself.
For introverts, it is challenging and draining to be around multiple people. Therefore, it is okay to take a break in between. Never force yourself to talk to every person at the event. When you start feeling drained, give yourself a little break, recharge your batteries, and start the process again. Also, set boundaries for yourself. Do not force yourself to stay at the event when you do not feel like it. If you networked with even two people, that is a good start. Do not beat yourself up; leave and try at other events.
Concluding, taking someone to a networking event or starting with a family or known people always helps build your confidence. Creating a safe corner where you can talk with people without feeling intimidated works, too. It allows you to gradually find your footing in networking, which is essential for a successful professional life.