Many introverts get a severe case of the jitters when they have to attend a networking event. Let me suggest another perspective – being an introvert is can be your super power.
Here are some suggestions on how you can best harness your power and be a successful networker:
- Prepare ahead of time: Before attending a networking event, do some research on the people and organizations that will be there. This will help you feel more prepared and confident when striking up conversations.
- Start small: It’s okay to start with small talk. Ask simple questions like, “What brings you here today?” or “How did you hear about this event?” This can lead to more in-depth conversations.
- Listen actively: Show a genuine interest in what the other person is saying. Ask follow-up questions and take note of important details that you can reference later.
- Follow up: After the event, send a follow-up email or message to the people you met. This can help you establish a deeper connection and potentially lead to future opportunities.
- Find your niche: Look for networking events or groups that align with your interests or industry. This can make it easier to find common ground with others and start meaningful conversations.
- Set realistic goals: Don’t feel like you need to meet every person in the room. Set a realistic goal for yourself, such as having one or two meaningful conversations.
- Take breaks: It’s okay to take breaks during a networking event. Step outside for some fresh air or take a few minutes to recharge before diving back in.
Remember, networking is about building relationships, not just collecting business cards. Focus on making genuine connections with others, and don’t be too hard on yourself if it takes time to feel comfortable.
And remember, everyone is there for the same reason. Don’t feel shy or intimidated; instead, know that you belong!