May 3, 2023

Networking for introverts

If there's one thing that everyone keeps mentioning in all blog posts, workshops, and conferences – it is networking. The activity of meeting and talking became so popular it also moved to an online platform when the pandemic and lockdown hit. Networking has become an ideal activity for extroverts whose daily bread is chatting and meeting new people. But what happened with introverts? Have they ever attended networking sessions? 

The truth is they did and sometimes they benefited even more than extroverts attending a networking event. But how did they do it? The secret is they knew their strong points. Read on to learn six practical tips crafted specifically for introverts who'd like to learn the art of networking. 

Tip #1: Bring a friend 

One of the easiest but maybe not that apparent tips is to bring a friend to a networking event. It will be much more comfortable for an introvert to enter a room full of strangers with someone who would act as a supporting pillar. At this point, it doesn't matter if a friend is a crazy extrovert or a silent introvert like yourself. The most important thing here is to be close to someone you trust and can hold on to if something doesn't go as planned. 

Once in a room, take your friend and go around, become comfortable in that space, take some refreshments and drinks. You can use your friend as your first networking buddy, and you'll see that some people will start joining your networking space. This way of interaction will help you transition smoothly from talking to a friend you know to meeting with new people, still in that safe bubble.

Tip #2: Find a corner for introverts

You're not the first and not the last introvert coming to a networking event. Usually, there's a corner farther away from the main event area where people can sit alone and recharge. That's a corner you would want to go to and recharge yourself. But after you're done – take a look around and start a small talk. 

Ask someone how they like this event, if they feel more comfortable in this corner, and what they do for a living. Don't forget to mention that you feel the same and are not used to meeting so many strangers in one place. This way, you will help each other – you will be proud you approached someone, and they will be proud of finally having a conversation with someone they don't know. 

Tip #3: Listen actively 

Networking can be successful both if you speak and listen to your networking buddy. Don't push yourself to talk a lot if you don't feel like it. Better take the role of an active listener. Ask questions, clarify, and show your interest. Sometimes the talk might become much more meaningful if you properly listen and learn something new. 

The tip works the best if you're genuinely interested in the life or career of the person you are talking to. And here might come another small tip – try to always find something interesting in that person. It might be exciting career growth, the experience of living abroad or building their own house. Focus on that interesting topic, ask questions, and listen. 

Tip #4: Set a quality chat as a goal

How many people do you think you need to meet to consider networking a blast? There's no set number, whether you're an extrovert or introvert. Networking is about meeting interesting people that can teach you something new, show another point of view, and uncover intriguing facts. And it all might be done in a chat with only one person.

Remember not to count the number of people you talked to, but rather focus on exciting and meaningful talks. This strategy will change your perception of networking forever as you'll be leaving the event with a pleasant feeling of meeting someone you admire.

Tip #5: Be yourself 

Being an introvert doesn't make you worse compared to others. It's just a personal characteristic; the same as being an extrovert doesn't make someone better. Every person has its strong and weak points. Extroverts might network for hours but learn nothing new, while an introvert will listen and build quality connections. 

Don't punish yourself for who you are but rather praise it. Remember that there are so many different personalities out there, and everyone is truly unique. Be true to yourself, do comfortable things, and don't push yourself if you're not ready yet. Development takes time, and the best is to take small steps toward your goal. Slowly but surely. 

Tip #6: Try online networking

As an introvert, it can sometimes feel exhausting to physically go out and interact in a large crowd of people. Luckily, thanks to today’s technology, you can now network from the comfort of your home. Members of our Femme Palette community currently have access to Meetsy - a unique 1:1 online networking tool which regularly matches you with another community member for a virtual coffee chat. It’s the perfect way to meet new people without attending a live event. Join the Femme Palette community today!

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