Get Connected – Tips for Networking as an Introvert
If you’re an entrepreneur like me, then you understand the importance and power of networking. Being able to develop and use contacts for business purposes has become a critical aspect of starting and running a successful business, and it’s almost frowned upon to not do it.
I’m the most extroverted introvert you’ll ever meet. I thrive off doing media interviews, speaking in front of dozens of people, and hosting events. However, nothing gives me more anxiety than the thought of having to approach a group of strangers and start a conversation.
If you tend to avoid networking events like me, then I suggest you take note of my tips for networking as an introvert below.
Create a Strategy
Countless attendees, business cards, and opportunities can overwhelm introverts. By creating an action plan, you go in with a goal in mind and an approach to make it happen. Remember that in this case, simplicity is key. Create something that is easy to remember and follow through with.
An easy goal to start with is a specific number of contacts you want to walk away with. For example, maybe you’re comfortable with five contacts that can help you complete the target market research for your new business idea. Start small and grow the goals as you reach them.
Take a Friend
While taking a companion to a networking event can defeat the purpose of meeting new people, I’ve found it to help me ease into the situation. Friends can help make the sometimes-tense situations seem more approachable and relaxing.
I suggest taking an extroverted friend that’ll get you outside of your comfort zone. Those friends tend to start conversations that you can then carry on and make new connections from. Once you feel comfortable on your own, go your own way and try not to connect with that friend until the end of the event.
Networking with a group of strangers can be intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be painful. One of the ways I’ve opened up to the idea of networking is by attending events in my area of expertise. For example, as a thrifter and fashion reseller, I’ll have more in common with other fashionistas at an event of that topic versus a marketing event.
This allows me to listen to peers share their elevator pitch and practice mine. Those connections can also help by cultivating relationships with those in your field. This is a great opportunity to share your tips, ideas, and start collaborations.