Networking Event Tips for Introverts
Networking events can be a source of terror for the introverted. Expanding on your communication skills in a social setting can greatly influence your career and personal relationships. If you are an introvert, utilize these tips to crush it at your next networking event.
The dichotomy between introversion and extroversion becomes wildly evident at networking events. Extroverts dominate the conversation and typically leave their introverted counterparts in the metaphorical dust. If you typically cower in the corner of networking events or even worse, do not attend them at all you could be missing out on opportunities to further your career or personal life.
Networking is not all about small talk, although it will likely involve a fair amount of pleasantries. Socializing with people outside of your office, industry or profession can help you become more educated and empathetic to the opinions of others. By definition, introverts extract gratification from being alone with their thoughts. The benefits of being alone are plentiful but striking a balance between time alone and socialization is essential.
If you struggle to muster the courage to sign up for a networking event due to the overwhelming social anxiety commonly associated with introversion, there are things you can do to overcome this hurdle. Researching a networking event and the guest list can not only inspire you to attend but may also reveal some familiar faces will be in attendance. If you have any co-workers, friends or family members who are willing to attend the event will certainly provide some added peace of mind. Preparation for the event is crucial not only for pragmatism but for creating a sense of investment that you will not wish to take a loss on.
Preparing talking points and questions before the event will definitely serve you well for the times when conversation wanes. Today you have the advantage of social networking sites that allow you to research potential guests and get an idea of their backgrounds, which is one thing everyone loves to discuss––themselves. When you arrive at the event there are some things you should keep in mind:
- Stand tall and keep your posture open and welcoming
- Smile and make eye-contact
- When introducing yourself shake hands firmly
- Talk less and listen more
- Pay attention to your surroundings and bring others into your conversations
Although this is advice you’ve likely heard before, it can never be touched upon enough as non-verbal communication is a major component of discourse. If your body language is closed off and cold you are sending the signal that you wish to remain undisturbed, but the slightest change of posture can change the course of conversation. If you meet an interesting character, suggest exchanging contact information to continue the conversation. The connections made at these events can sometimes lead to unforeseen but life-changing relationships and career changes.
After attending a networking event it is best to take notes about particular people, like their name, occupation, topics of discussion and contact information. Connecting with people on social media can solidify your place in their memory. In this visual from GetVoip are tips for introverts to network more effectively. Putting these tips into action can make networking events less stressful and more engaging as an introvert.