For introverts, there are few things more terrifying than networking events. Walking into a room filled with strangers and being expected to come out of your shell seems impossible. However, there are ways to be an introvert and still get something out of networking events.
Unfortunately for introverts, networking events take a little more prep. Luckily, there are tons of tips you can come armed with to make for your best networking event yet. Just remember to keep your head up, continue to smile, and try not to think about all the strangers in the room.
Tip #1: Get Prepared
Introverts need to prepare for big social events mentally. Take some time before you leave to define what you want to accomplish and come up with a few icebreaker questions to ask people.
If it helps you to write some of these ideas down, definitely do it.
Lastly, think about what you want other people to know about you! Come up with some topics your comfortable sharing so you can toss them out there when the time comes.
Tip #2: Go With A Buddy
If you can manage to get someone to go with you, that’s even better. Having a friend by your side can make it easier to navigate the room. It’s always helpful to know you’re not walking into the unknown completely alone.
Tip #3: Remember Most People Are Intimidated
Most people going to a networking event have some fear, too. Keep that in mind as you start to look around.
Who is sitting or standing by themselves? Work up the courage to go over and say hello. They might be just like you and intimidated by the number of people in the room. You might find a fast friend if you are the first to reach out and start a conversation.
Tip #4: Ask Questions
If you’re not comfortable talking about yourself, ask questions of the other person. This is an excellent time to use those listening skills to learn about someone new and deflect some of the attention off yourself.
As long as you are still present in the conversation and engaging, they probably won’t even notice they’re only talking about themselves.
Tip #5: Set A Goal
Go into the networking event challenging yourself to meet with a certain number of new people. Setting goals can help you encourage yourself to keep going, even when you want to pull back.
These networking events help you meet like-minded people you might be able to work with in the future. Don’t hold yourself back out of fear for what people will think.
The best thing you can do is walk into a room with the best of intentions and put a smile on your face. If you’re reflecting openness and positivity, chances are you’ll do just fine meeting new people.
As scary as it might be, overcoming the fear of walking up and introducing yourself to someone new goes a long way. So, don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and say hello!