Many introverts believe that the networking industry is not designed for them to succeed. Walking into a room as if they own it and striking up a conversation with a stranger with ease and charm are the “ideal” components that seem to be required to succeed at networking. So is there hope for introverts?
There is, especially when we examine what it truly means to be introverted. Myths about introverts include “introverts dislike being around people,” “introverts aren’t excellent at dealing with others,” and “introverts need to be rescued from social circumstances.”
Introverts who understand it, accept it, and devise a strategy to maximize its benefits may discover that introversion is the secret sauce for advancing their professions. So, introverts can network effectively! Here are some networking ideas for introverts.
What do we do in socially ambiguous situations? Some people eat, some drink, and almost everyone pulls out their smartphone. It’s the ultimate accessory for seeming busy and important, even if you’re only reading through your Instagram feed. You may feel safe behind your virtual wall, but staring at your phone can hinder others from engaging with you. So, when you prepare to enter a networking event, put your phone somewhere you can’t easily reach and set a time limit of 20 minutes before checking it again.
If you feel you are not comfortable starting a conversation, but your product or business has a lot of potential that you can’t describe confidently for this, online business cards come to the rescue.
Using these, you can showcase what your brand and product are since business cards are your company’s first salesperson because they describe your personality and brand.
It becomes very significant that you should use a well-maintained and suitable business card that can showcase your brand’s best traits during your networking and should resonate with your personality and your business.
Networking events may bring out the worst in people. “You don’t deserve to be here,” “You’re uninteresting, and no one will want to talk to you,” and “Everyone is staring at you” can play over and over in your head, reducing your confidence and making you feel as if attending the event was a mistake. Try to silence your inner critic or, at the very least, turn down the volume on the negative thought chatter. Remind yourself that you have the qualifications and experience to be here, that many people find you interesting, and that everyone is too preoccupied with their conversations to notice your every move.
Networking gatherings can be exhausting, particularly for introverts. Before you walk through the door, fuel up and hydrate. A light lunch or snack with a decent balance of protein, carbs, and fats can keep you satisfied and energized. Caffeine use should be limited, especially if you are already feeling stressed. The same is true for alcohol. A glass of wine may appear to be a good idea, but avoid anything that could harm your professional image.
Following a huge networking event, many introverts are inclined to sigh in relief and cuddle up in a room alone for a week. Do not feel obligated to send boring “glad to meet you” emails within 24 hours. However, please make time two or three days following the event to send messages to the professionals you want to stay in touch with.
Keep your outreach brief and personal, and emphasize a single detail from the encounter. Let the person who gave you advice know what you did with it. If you’d like to meet them for coffee again, recommend it as the next step. Arrange for everyone’s “outing”: You’re dealing with busy professionals. Please don’t assume they’ll be available, but let them know their time and expertise would be greatly appreciated.
To get the most out of networking events, start by attending the correct events. For example, a loud-rooftop bar event is less likely to be productive and more stressful than a fireside discussion. Consider the setting that allows you to perform at your best and attend the more favorable events first.
Respect your preferences by resting your batteries before the event, eating nourishing foods, and planning a few icebreakers. Give yourself a time restriction before sneaking out the back door. Ask for introductions to stack the deck to your advantage, and have a game plan for post-event follow-up.