When it comes to Networking, introverts get a bad rap. Here is the difference between an introvert and being shy.
While extroverts are the life of the party, introverts do better in smaller, more intimate settings. If someone was shy, well... you might not even get to meet them. Introverts generally tend to be better listeners and more inquisitive than their extroverted counterparts that sometimes talk too much about themselves. Shyness is more about being socially awkward, due to fear of judgment from others. Now don't get me wrong, being shy is okay, but it does not equate to introverted'ness.
If you are an introvert and plan on attending some kind of networking event, you don't have to put pressure on yourself to meet a lot of people. Introverts tend to capitalize on their time and make solid connections, which works out great for introverts that want to spend a limited amount of time at an event.
So you've read this article and determined you are an introvert. How do you go about maximizing on the limited amount of time, when you plan on attending your networking event?
Tip No. 1
Break the ice. Organized conversations are okay!
Make note cards and look over them before the event. Shy people, in particular, have a hard time starting conversations with strangers, but doing a bit of homework before an event can help anyone come up with good questions to ask. Find out who will be at an event, and research the people you want to meet by looking them up on Google or LinkedIn. We are not telling you to stalk them. Just research them. Ok?
Tip No. 2
Set a time limit.
Instead of committing to stay for the duration of an event, tell yourself you'll only hang out for an hour, or some other chunk of time you're comfortable with. The point is to take the pressure off yourself and just show up.
Tip No. 3
Ask for an introduction.
This tip is a good one for anyone, regardless of your personality. Find someone who knows everyone and ask that person--maybe the individual hosting the event--to connect you with whomever it is you want to meet.
Tip No. 4
Practice empathetic listening.
Put yourself in another person's shoes, and listen with the goal of learning something. Be friendly, be yourself, and be nice! Always know, that someone somewhere is always going through something, and treating others the way you would like to be treated, no matter what -- will take you a long way.
Tip No. 5
Share personal stories.
Your personal stories are what make you interesting and memorable. Recently jumped off of a junk boat with your friends and discovered a new species of marine life? Well share it! Networking with people that have similar interests and stories often bare fruit in the long term.
Practice every day, because practice makes perfect. Go to events, attend parties, be around people and drink in their networking skills. Fake it till you make it and soon enough, you will be networking like a pro!
Until next time Networkers, stay happy, stay healthy, and happy networking!