Networking Guide for Introverts
If I were to list different occasions that were excruciating for introverts the list would go: clubs, birthday parties, and networking events. It’s hard enough to sell yourself to one person, but a room full of strangers is asking for a lot. One thing that goes without saying is that Introversion has nothing to do with an inability to perform or unwillingness to persevere; shyness may be a quality but it is not a weakness. The best way to navigate networking events as an introvert would be to play to your strengths. Wield your introversion with confidence and you’ll come out on top.
You don’t talk much? Just listen. As underrated as it sounds, listening is the most important thing you can do at a networking event. As the saying goes, you have two ears and one mouth for a reason. It means you should be listening more than you speak. Chances are if you’re at a fancy schmancy networking event, the people who are there must be a pretty big deal. They may have years of experience with loads of exploits and escapades they’re just dying to brag about. Be the person to lend an ear.
Chances are extroverts are going to excel at talking and capturing the attention of many. But you have to think, will they know what book the speaker recommended? Will they remember that the CEO of a company prefers to be called by his middle name? Will they hurl themselves across the room to stop the waiter from giving the exec a pastry with nuts in, because they know he’s allergic? That may be a bit dramatic but you get the point, be prepared. Read up on the people who are attending the event, pay attention, and swoop in to save the day.
Here’s another oldie but goodie, just be yourself. Every industry leader is not an extrovert, chances are in a room of people only half of them are extroverted, that means that the other half is scared to death just like you. If you embrace who you are, you don’t have to worry about going up to people, people will start to come to you. Confidence can exude in different ways, sometimes being confident doesn’t make you the life of the party. Sometimes confidence comes in quiet contemplation but it’s just as remembered or respected as extroverted personalities.
Applying tips like this will help you navigate the social side of your career. Seasoned professionals will tell you, it’s important not dwell on the parts of your personality you can’t really control, instead, it’s better to be the best version of yourself. Even if you never find yourself comfortable in a networking situation, the most important part is that you make improvements.