Networking is a highly effective way to market yourself, either in personal life or professional career. Showing up at a networking event can be a good way to meet, mingle, and build new connections with new people. However, for some people with introvert personality, being in the middle of overly cheerful strangers can be grueling and intimidating.
Typically shy and awkward in social situations, introverts might find it hard to be open to strangers and initiate small talks, let alone establish new relationship. If you define yourself as an introvert and are new to networking, it can be a “catch-22” to even start a conversation. You would rather wait for people to approach you than walk up to them and introduce yourself. Unfortunately, everyone seems to have their own group and this makes you feel even more isolated and alone.
Can you relate to this situation? If yes, then, these tips can help you boost confidence in building a networking:
Not only introverts, even extroverts will find it difficult to engage in a conversation where they don’t really know the topic well. As a result, you might feel more anxious when joining the talk and the conversation might gets awkward. To prevent yourself from such scenario, preparation is a good solution. You should acknowledge yourself with possible topics that might come up during a conversation in a networking event. Do your homework to research and learn about various topics so you can connect with more people.
Not all networking should be done face-to-face. Thanks to the digital technology, it can save you from the awkwardness of meeting and talking to potential business partners in person. By signing up for online conference or online courses, you can use this opportunity to develop your network without having to look desperately trying in front of people you barely know.
Thinking to attend that networking event but you are not confident enough?
You can always bring a trusted friend with you. In a crucial situation, a trusted friend can be a good helper. He can introduce you to people he talks to. In this case, you don’t need to worry about starting and being left alone in the crowd.
Ask surprising questions
A good thing about being introvert is that they can make the most of every situation. They tend to ask thoughtful questions after listening attentively. Therefore, being in a group of people is not always a tough task. Rather, you can draw their attention by asking surprising but meaningful questions such as what is keeping you up at night lately? or do you have any fun side hustle right now?
Start the talk (be that person)
Good news is, maybe you are not the only introvert out there. Possibly, there is someone who is also waiting for people to talk to him. So be that person! Instead of dwelling on how scary it is to suddenly mingle with a group of people, you can approach that single person and start a conversation. “Have you ever been to this kind of event before?” can be a good opening line.
Andrea Barrica, a CEO/co-founder of O.school, said that as an introvert you cannot always give full attention to every person you are talking with. Therefore, she suggested to give full attention to your favourite person. She said, “If I’m talking with a group of 4 or 5 people, I have no shame about paying laser-focused attention to one or two of the people I’m connecting with most.” In this case, you can find more interesting things about their personality that might as well interest you to talk more with them.
Schedule follow-up meetings
Like all networking, goodbye does not mean an end. You should have a follow-up meetings and show that you still want to connect with that person. Besides, when you are too anxious talking in a crowd, you can always ask for their social media or phone number. Ask them if they are free for another meeting in a coffee shop or dinner in a restaurant.
Read also: 10 Networking Tips for Business Success