Social Strategy – 5 Ways For Introverts To Survive The Intensity Of Networking Events
It’s an age-old struggle: the introvert at the networking event. Luckily, the cards are falling in your favor as there are many tried and tested techniques people have been using for years to network efficiently. While you will probably still feel far from your comfort zone at such events, this can actually be worked to your advantage. Here are five modern methods for getting through a networking event as an introvert.
Connecting with new contacts doesn’t stop at the networking event. Handing out high-quality corporate gifts is a great way to make a positive impression that lasts as your contacts have something to remember you by. Choose your memento wisely and keep it classy; don’t go for a box of sweets when the event is for the dental health industry, and be sure to choose something small and lightweight. You don’t want your fellow guests to have to struggle around with something heavy or bulky out of politeness. Though, they’d certainly remember you for it!
Being early can seem daunting, but the period before the event starts is actually one of the best times to meet people at any networking function. Everybody is usually a little awkward at the beginning of these things; people are trying to find their places and will look for someone to engage with to help them feel settled. You can easily start a conversation by helping someone find their place. Alternatively, you can be patient and wait for one of the talkers to come to you. This is the time for ice-breaker questions like, “Have you been to one of these before?” and “How did you hear about this?”
An unbelievably easy way to be involved in the group and swap a few names without having to rack your brain for conversation starters is to hang out in an area that’s designed for communal activity. This could be by joining in on a game or going to the area where the food and drinks are being served.
Whether it’s a business associate, friend, employee, or your spouse, if you have the opportunity to bring somebody along who you feel comfortable with, you should consider it. The only thing worth noting is that you should be sure your “plus one” is a little bit more open and can help you with introductions or simply be a positive presence. Since you want help in meeting more people, you probably won’t have much luck if you invite somebody who is painfully shy or not interested in socializing.
It’s the same advice we give to children who are going into an unfamiliar class for the first time, and you can be sure that it applies to us all in adulthood. Remember the reasons you have for attending these events; are you looking for collaborators? Potential business affiliations? Or tips on working in your industry? Chances are, most other attendees will have similar questions and experiences to you. Nobody is looking for an entertainer, and you do not need to put on a character to connect. Be yourself, remain professional, and be honest in your introductions.
Keep these five tips in mind, and you’ll not only survive your next networking event but thrive. Don’t forget your business cards and a bag or generously sized pockets so you can politely accept business cards from others.