Why is event networking tough for introverts?
Introverts hate event networking. That is a fact. If you are an introvert it can sometimes be difficult to leave the house for work, let alone go to a big event where you are expected to speak to strangers.
Working from home has been a godsend for introverts. But, now that the world is opening up you may have to ask one of your introverted colleagues to go to an event. Or you decide that you need to network to build your client base.
Events can cause fear, dread and even, in the worst cases, panic to people who dislike social activities.
So, we have put together our top five tips on how introverts can survive a networking event.
Keep your phone to hand
We don’t mean to go and sit in a corner checking out the latest affdeals. You can use your device as a map to navigate an overwhelming and confusing event. However, not as a literal map, but as a social map.
Before the event see if any of the attendees are talking about going. Research what they are interested in and see where they are likely to be during the event. That way you can already have some topics to work into conversation.
Also, you can use your device to connect with people on social media. Any potential leads might be handy in the future, you never know when you might need their services.
Have a chat
Now that you are armed with your mobile device and prior knowledge you need to start talking. Introverts often find it difficult to start a conversation with someone new. Awkward silences can build tension. So if you have some research ready you should be able to get a topic flowing.
Make sure to keep the conversation about them. Most people prefer to talk about themselves anyway, and if they are leading the chat they will likely talk for hours. Your only problem then is to gracefully exit the conversation.
It may appear to be counterproductive for an event where you want to drum up some business, but people do not like to be sold to.
Networking is about building connections, not making sales. The people who you are talking to might not need your services right now, they might do in the future. Speak confidently about your expertise and prove your knowledge but avoid turning it into a sales pitch.
Steer clear of groups
Approaching a large group of people is gut-wrenching for an introvert, so simply avoid it.
It is quite likely that that group of people already know each other. Approaching them as an individual and somehow pulling yourself into their discussion will not end well. Even if you do manage to redirect the group, someone may make a comment that requires prior knowledge and you are immediately ejected from the dynamic.
Joining a group will do more harm to your confidence than good, so best to avoid it.
Don’t take friends
Taking friends and family with you to a networking event might help you walk through the door, however, you are there to speak to new people, not ones you already know.
Taking a more extroverted friend could help get conversations started, on the other hand, you may just sit at a table together talking. Just remember why you are going.
Event networking is not easy, for introverts it can lead to paralysing fear. Consider these five tips and go out there and smash it!