We’ve all seen them at social events – those fearless networkers that glide seamlessly from one group to the next, conjuring laughter and business opportunities as if they were handing them out for free.
What if you aren’t a master at leading conversations or judging the direction of group dynamics? What if your strong points are more on the listening end instead of being the center of attention? One of the most important things to remember for networking (and just life, in general) is to focus on your strengths. If you aren't comfortable commanding the room, then any attempt at socializing could come across as forced and awkward.
Instead, honor the fact that you are an introvert and use it to your advantage when it comes to networking. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Actively listen and empathize with your conversation partner. Remember that people love to talk about themselves, so if someone can find an active audience with you, they will be happy to share.
- Go with a friend or colleague who can help with introductions and social support.
- Make the networking event the only social activity scheduled for the day. This way, you can save all of your energy for this specific moment.
- Smile! Smiles break down defenses.
- Go in with the attitude that you are there to make friends, not business deals. Once a friendship is solidified, the business relationship will naturally develop.
What do you think about these tips? As an introvert, what have you discovered has helped you be more comfortable at networking events? We’d love to hear your comments!