Our Experts | Deborah Peters
If you are an introvert to any degree, you may have a hard time networking: chatting with strangers, participating in icebreakers and boasting about your own work all might sound dreadful.
Unfortunately, in the business world networking is a must. Luckily there are still ways to prepare yourself for mingling that will ease your anxiety or flat-out distaste for the task.
To network effectively, there is much you can do to prepare before even leaving your house. As an introvert it can be hard to do things face-to-face, like introduce yourself, think on-the-fly about topics to talk about and especially talk about your own work. That is why before the event, you should:
- Establish yourself online. Get your LinkedIn up to date! Your current resume should be uploaded and any examples of projects you have done. Brand yourself authentically and don’t be afraid to brag. Give examples of your accomplishments so that people can see them online before they even meet you.
- Research attendees before the event. If you get a list of attendees, make sure to look them up on LinkedIn and connect with them. You can reach out and let them know that you will also be at the event and would love to meet them. Then be sure to study their faces and a little about them so you can spot them at the event and start the conversation with an icebreaker.
- Go armed with questions you could ask anyone. Prepare a list of good questions that you could ask any attendee. This is great if you don’t have an attendee list or somehow can’t find who you are looking for. It’s also great because you wouldn’t want to limit yourself to talking just to people you’ve already connected with.
During The Event
If you are still feeling uncomfortable after all of your advance preparation, fear not. There are more options for going into the event!
- Take a buddy. Having a friend at the event can make you feel much more at ease and help generate conversations with other attendees. Just make sure you don’t end up huddled in the corner together!
- Make it a game. Challenge yourself to meet X amount of people during the event. Setting a goal helps you stay on track as you need to talk to 4 more people, or whatever number you choose.
- Make notes about the people you meet. As you meet new people, make sure to grab their business card and after talking, jot a few notes on it about things you talked about and how to follow up with them. This way you won’t feel awkward trying to reconnect later, and you can send a personalized message reminding them of how you met.
Use these tips to glide through your next networking event and make some solid connections. For more tips on everything from business to employment and a healthy work life, sign up for our newsletter here.