Picture this: you’re invited to a networking event that you’re actually excited to go to. You arrive, ready with your business cards and spiel—but something doesn’t feel quite right. Standing rigid in the corner, you stand and watch everybody else exchange contact details and tell stories. The wallpaper seems to swallow you up as you become more part of the wall rather than the crowd.
Sound familiar? Well, you aren’t alone! Introverts thrive in more intimate settings rather than in a crowd. As such, situations like networking events, which are usually abuzz with social activity, can be very draining! Given the situation, how can an introvert like you navigate an extrovert’s world, particularly when it comes to networking?
You don’t need to worry, as we have got just the right tips for you! Here are our top seven networking tips for introverted individuals:
1. Prepare well
Before going to a networking event, spend a good amount of time to prepare for it. Ask yourself what your goal is by attending this event. Use that answer to guide some questions you can ask other attendees, like “How did you get into this career?” or “What projects are you currently working on?”
It’s also a great idea to prepare some things you can say about yourself and practice saying them aloud. That way, you’ll be able to answer with full confidence the questions that others ask you!
2. Take baby steps
Break your goals down into smaller steps. If your objective is to get as many contacts as possible, focus on chatting with one person first. A simple introductory line should get the ball rolling, like “Hi! I’m (your name). How are you doing?”
To help smoothen the process, you can also bring a companion with you. Knowing that you have someone around that you know can be a calming thought, so consider going with some friends!
3. Be present and ask questions
Starting a conversation is one thing, but keeping it going can feel like another challenge entirely. One great tip is to be present in the conversation by bringing the focus onto your new acquaintance. This will take the pressure off of talking about yourself. This is where all those questions you prepared will come in handy!
4. Be yourself
As cliché as it sounds, this will help you the most. It takes so much more energy to put on a persona than just being your most authentic self. Although it’s important to step outside your comfort zone, attempting to network as an extrovert might end up being counterproductive for you.
A great tip is to examine your strengths. You may discover that you can hold conversations for longer in smaller groups, or that you are more likely to make lasting connections when having one-on-ones. Focus on those and work them to your advantage.
5. Take advantage of having a conference buddy
And no, we don’t mean run off with their purse or wallet. If you’ve come to the networking event with a friend, use them as a sort of launchpad for you to get to know the other attendees.
For example, you can stick to your friend, who can then introduce you to some people. From there, you can continue conversations with them on your own. After getting a feel of it, you can approach people beyond your friend’s acquaintances or colleagues.
6. Make small but meaningful connections
Large crowds aren’t the only way you can network and make connections. Look for situations where you can talk to small groups of people, such as a game of golf or a cup of coffee. It might not be as fast as exchanging business cards in a large conference hall, but these settings often create more significant relationships—which is a win in any book.
7. Leave it to the professionals
If all else fails, don’t fret. There are professionals who can still help you network effectively. Some companies host business networking events in Perth in order to introduce you to key people. Since this is planned with approval on both sides, it could be easier to foster a connection.
Networking and socialising are absolutely for everybody. While we live in a seemingly extrovert-dominated world, introverts can still hold their own!
By playing to your strengths, you can build a community of mentors, friends, and colleagues at your own pace. Working with what you have while pushing yourself just outside your comfort zone will keep you growing as a professional.
Not sure where or how to network? Here at Network Referral Group (NRG), we believe that building connections in a local community can be both economically empowering and environmentally stable. To check out our monthly meetings and expos, upcoming events in Mandurah, and Canning Vale events, check our events calendar today!