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How to Network as an Introvert
My greatest skill is getting people to think I’m a gregarious Extrovert because, for a short period of time, I can be.
In reality, I am an introvert through and through and need alone time to recharge.
Whenever you have to go network as an introvert, it can be incredibly intimidating.
This week is International Networking Week, so I thought I would share some tips and techniques to help network as an introvert.
BEFORE THE EVENT
1) Research the event
Make sure to research the event and find out if it’s the right fit for you.
Research is key to figuring out if the event is worth your time.
It can be exhausting going to network as an introvert so find out if it’s the best use of your time.
This is key for anyone, but you could also find out if they have an events page or Twitter hashtag to find others in your field who may be going.
2) Take a Friend
The hardest thing for me to networking as an Introvert is anxiety over not having anyone to talk to when I get there.
If you’re allowed to bring a friend, do it!
It will take your anxiety down a notch and you’ll have someone to travel with and talk to in case it all gets too much.
3) Work Out Your Travel Options
The next thing to give me anxiety when networking as an Introvert is how to get there!
I love Google Maps for planning out the route and figuring out how to get to a place so that I have a rough idea of when to leave home, and the venue to get back home.
If you’re lost on the go, download Citymapper which tells you all your travel options in real time and the best bit is it tells you which bus, tube etc to take to get where you need to go.
4) Plan Your Outfit
Plan your outfit a couple of days before you go.
It really depends on the event, but there is no harm in being a little bit dressed up on top with comfortable footwear if you’re going to be standing around or walking a lot.
Your outfit will definitely make you more confident networking as an introvert!
DURING THE EVENT
5) Get to the venue on time
If you’ve taken tip 3 to heart, then you should be on time to the venue.
Sometimes life happens and you may not be able to get to the venue on time due to public transport or something else that came up.
Let the event organisers know you will be a little late to save your own anxiety and stop you from turning back home!
6) Network Like Crazy
Request a vendor list beforehand so that you know exactly who to target at the event if this is available.
I’ve gone to so many events and not been sure if the person I am talking to is worth my time or not.
It can be so scary to network as an introvert, so if you get to the event and you know no-one, take your time to mill around.
Get the lay of the land, and if possible go join an open group.
An open group would be where they’ve left space for another person to join the conversation.
If that’s still too scary, then sit on the sidelines, take a deep breath and remember what you came to the event to do.
What you’ll find is that you will meet someone who’s as lonely as you, and that’s the perfect time to go over and introduce yourself!
7) Practice Your Elevator Pitch
An elevator pitch is a short sentence you come up with to describe who you are and what you do.
I hate doing these on the spot, so you can always come up with this beforehand and then practice on the way to the venue.
A good elevator pitch will tell someone you know what you’re talking about with confidence.
An example would be, “Hi, I’m Humaira and I help women live healthier, happier lives inside and out through my blog Money Savvy Muslim with articles on money, beauty and lifestyle”.
This is a basic elevator pitch, but it introduces me as a person, the value I add and then how I achieve it.
So many people just say, “I’m a blogger” “I’m a Designer” but don’t elaborate on how they add value to their customers which should be the first thing you say.
Toot your own horn!
There is a ton of articles on how to perfect your elevator pitch, so do some research and nail it before you get to the event!
AFTER THE EVENT
8) Follow Up ASAP
This can be tricky to do, as I know when networking as an introvert, it can be EXHAUSTING when you get home.
Muster up some energy the same day on the commute back or the next day, and send them a quick e-mail if you have their details to really forge that connection to make you memorable.
One tip that came in useful was to write some little facts about the person on their business card so when you follow up you can reference the conversation e.g. if one of the attendees lives close to me, so I make sure to reference that when I send her a follow-up email and schedule some time for coffee.
Make sure to tweet, Instagram or Facebook message anyone who follows you after the event and follow back if they’re the right person or organisation for you.
Social media is such a great way to contact people, utilise it!
I hope you enjoyed my quick guide to networking as an introvert.
If you have any tips, leave them in the comments below.