People believe that being an introvert means you just don’t like people and that you hate to network. This isn’t true, introverts like people and they really do enjoy networking!
Being an introvert is less about how they engage with people in a group setting and more about how they recharge from that. Unlike extroverts who get energized from a networking event an introvert needs to recharge by being alone. An extrovert thrives in meeting new people and maybe even being in the spotlight while an introvert will not necessarily enjoy that spotlight at all and even meeting new people will come with a level of uncomfortableness.
For an introvert a networking event is a lot of work! Even in a friendly and familiar environment like a small weekly networking group where they know the people and see them on a weekly basis. A larger event where the introvert will not know many or even any of the other participants will often leave them physically and mentally exhausted after even a short period of time.
Are You That Person?
There is absolutely nothing wrong with being an introvert, introverts tend to come with the ability to read people quickly and easily and that is a gift. What is necessary to help an introvert navigate through a networking event is to have the tools in their tool box to get the job done!
5 Tips To Help The Introvert In You To Navigate Through Your Next Networking Event
1. Be Prepared
Large events like trade shows – Often have attendee lists that you can email directly ahead of time to request to meet while the event is happening.
Mid-size events should have a list of the attendees accessible to you. Before the event go through the list and pick 2 or 3 people that you think would be a good connection for you and your business. For an event that has 100-300 people who meet on a monthly basis you can ask at the registration desk or with one of the volunteers to be introduced to at least one of these people. There’s a good chance they will likely know the person you’re looking for or will know someone else who does and they love to connect people!
Small weekly events have your informercial (or elevator speech) prepared and have at least one person that you want to connect with and go get them.
2. Use Linked IN As Your Wingman
You can’t always have your wingman with you and introverts tend to hide out with them anyway! If there is someone who is going to be at the event and you want to speak to them look them up on Linked to learn more about them. It’s much easier to talk to a stranger if you can you already know some things about them. Please though, do not use Facebook for this purpose, Facebook can be a much more personal platform and it probably won’t be received well if you know that the person you’re talking to spent Friday night alone with a bottle of wine and their cat!
3. Get to the event early AKA The Introvert Hour.
Think this is the worst time to arrive? Think again! This is the perfect time to arrive. People are just beginning to walk in they are looking for someone to talk to so it’s highly likely that the extrovert and even another introvert will approach you to talk. That’s so much easier!
4. Don’t be too thirsty when you network
No I don’t mean drink water before you go but that’s actually not a bad idea. What I mean is to not be that person who walks into the room with a fist full of business cards on a mission to get them into other people’s hands and then get out. This is a common mistake by both introverts and extroverts so I thought I’d throw this one in for good measure. Having a business card shoved in your hand at a networking event is never well received. A seasoned networker once told me that he keeps those business cards in his left pocket and the “good ones” in his right pocket to follow up with.
Ok this one might sound pretty basic but it’s not always natural for people to smile, especially in an uncomfortable or new environment. Smiling however is the easiest most basic way for you to look inviting and approachable and as an introvert it’s easier to have people approach you to start that conversation to keep smiling!
If you think you’re ready to get out there and start networking consider starting with a smaller friendlier group like Georgetown B2C and test out your smiling skills with us!
You will find us at the beautiful Eagle Ridge Golf Club every Wednesday morning at 7:00 A.M.