Networking isn’t easy.
Whether you’re trying to find yourself a mentor or whether you’re simply trying to drum up a little interest in your new startup. It becomes even more difficult if you’re an introvert, the kind of person who feels uncomfortable in social situations and who’s at their best and their most comfortable when they’re home alone.
Luckily, help is at hand, and we’re hoping that this article will help you to rethink your approach to networking and to become much more efficient and effective. Here’s what you need to know.
The Professional Guide to Networking for Introverts
Be a good listener
We all like to feel as though we’re being listened to, and indeed being able to actively listen to people and to take down mental notes on what they’re saying can be nothing short of a superpower when it comes to networking. Better still, it’s something that we introverts are inherently good at.
Don’t get too tipsy
One thing that a lot of people recommend is to have a couple of drinks beforehand to try to loosen up or to give yourself some Dutch courage. The problem with this is that you can loosen up too much and make a fool of yourself – or simply not remember the people you meet.
Know your elevator pitch
Your elevator pitch is the short, 20-second pitch you make when people ask you what your business is and does. The idea is that it’s short enough for you to be able to share it with an investor during an elevator ride. Knowing it will help you to communicate what you do with the people you meet.
Do your research
Many events publicize attendee lists or enable you to set up meetings ahead of time. It’s a good idea to spend some time preparing for events, researching other attendees and figuring out who you want to talk to and what you want to talk to them about.
Have some ice-breakers
Ice breakers are little comments that you can make when you meet people to put them at ease and to establish a bond with them. Different ice-breakers work best for different people, so you’ll need to find your style, whether it’s to crack a joke or whether it’s to talk about your family.
This may be easier said than done, but if you’re able to have a little fun while you’re networking, you’ll also be able to up your chances of being successful. Ultimately, networking may be a means to an end, but that doesn’t mean that it can’t be enjoyable. Done well, you can make true friends who’ll remain friends for life, but that will only happen if you’re able to get past the neurosis and to have fun.
Now that you know everything you need to know about networking as an introvert, it’s over to you to start making friends and connections and rethinking the way that you look at networking events. The good news is that just a small amount of effort can reap major rewards, and so as long as you’re willing to give things a try, you ought to do just fine. Good luck.