The prospect of networking can be daunting for anyone, not least for introverts. Walking into a room full of strangers and striking up a conversation isn’t always easy, but there are many networking tips for introverts that can help you work the room.
While it’s true introverts enjoy their own company, this isn’t to say they don’t have the right skills to network. If you class yourself as an introvert, you might find it difficult to entertain large crowds for long periods of time, but there’s a lot more to networking than being good at meeting new people. We’ve put together some networking tips for introverts to help you succeed.
Choose the right event
Successful networking doesn’t mean you have to attend anything and everything. If you’re not sure where to start, think about the environment in which you are most likely to flourish. If you know you will gain more from intimate networking events, don’t put pressure on yourself to attend busier affairs.
Allow yourself time to mentally prepare for the event. Introverts like to reflect first so that they know what they’re doing when they act, so be sure to spend some time to yourself, building up your energy before you go.
Networking tips for introverts: Plan accordingly
If you feel more comfortable speaking to one or two people and establishing deeper connections, try and find out who will be at the event beforehand. This way, you will have an idea of who you want to speak to and be able to focus your energy on them when you get there. This will ensure you enter the room prepared and focussed, rather than being caught off guard.
Preparing some questions and icebreakers is also high up on the list of networking tips for introverts. Taking the time to reflect on what it is you want to achieve at the event will help you relax once you’re there.
Use your best attributes
One of the best tips for introverts at networking events is to use your ability to listen, and think before you speak. Waiting until you have something valid to say will prove effective and will ensure you don’t say anything you don’t really mean.
If you struggle to strike up a conversation, try asking people to introduce themselves first. This will give you time to collect your thoughts and think about how you will answer the question in return.
Set reasonable expectations
While you may be stepping out of your comfort zone, be sure to set realistic goals. If you struggle to stay at networking events all night, set yourself a reasonable time frame. One of the most advisable networking tips for introverts is to focus your energy on smaller groups of people, rather than throwing yourself in the deep end. Aim to approach individuals first rather than a large group of people who are already well acquainted.
Prepare for some awkwardness
While the thought of awkward conversations might leave you cold, expect and prepare for some false starts and awkward interactions. Don’t be tempted to fill the silence and engage your listening skills instead. It’s also perfectly acceptable to tell the other person it was nice to meet them, before moving on.
While there are many networking tips for introverts, one of the most important is to be yourself. If you feel uncomfortable, you might be tempted to take out your phone. Making a conscious effort to focus on the person in front of you will ensure you get the most out of the event.
Post-networking tips for introverts: Wind down and start again tomorrow
After engaging in this much social activity, introverts may feel tired and drained, so take some time to yourself and recharge. Clear your diary for at least a few hours after the networking event and do something you enjoy alone. When you’re ready, reflect on who you felt you most connected with and focus your energy on them, rather than contacting everyone you spoke to.
Introvert or not, if you’re networking you’ll need a high-quality CV to support your efforts. Speak to us today to see how we can help.