If you consider yourself an introvert, networking events aren’t exactly your favourite pastime.
But however much you dislike the idea of meeting lots of new people at once, you’re probably aware that attending the occasional meet-up and growing your professional network would be beneficial to your career.
Here’s our Introvert’s Guide to Networking Events. Following these 7 tips will help you not only cope at your next event – but actually enjoy it!
1. Reach out to the organiser
If it’s your first time attending a particular networking event, it might be worth reaching out to the organiser before the event to introduce yourself.
After a quick conversation about what you want to achieve from the event, the host might then be able to introduce you to people they think might be of interest.
2. Focus on your strengths
As an introvert, you’re probably a natural listener. You can use that to your advantage at the next networking event you attend. Asking questions and actually listening to the answers, before building on them with your own insight will make a much better impression than just blurting out a list of facts about yourself.
3. Practise your elevator pitch
Prepare a few opening lines about yourself and what you do before the event, that way you won’t have to think on the spot when someone asks. One less thing to worry about!
4. Focus on meaningful connections
Forget about the idea of “networking” and having to make small talk with every person in the room. Instead, take a step back, speak to a few people that you feel comfortable approaching, and focus on meaningful conversations and building relationships.
Consider it an exciting opportunity to meet like-minded people. Remember everyone at the event is in a similar situation to you. They’re most likely either in the same industry or have similar goals, so it’s a great chance to get to know people and get inspired!
5. Bring an extrovert
Consider bringing a friend or work colleague along to the event. Attending with someone more outgoing will help you relax and talk to people you wouldn’t have otherwise approached alone.
6. Set yourself a challenge
If you feel overwhelmed at the prospect of meeting so many new people, try setting yourself little challenges. If starting conversations is something you struggle with, challenge yourself to approach one person and introduce yourself. This is a lot more manageable than forcing yourself to speak to everyone in the room.
7. Look approachable
Smile and be mindful of your body language. If you look approachable enough, you might be able to avoid initiating too many conversations – they’ll come to you!