Networking for Introverts

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In a world primarily filled with extroverts, introverts can feel suffocated while trying to climb the ladder of success. Networking events are one of the most effective ways to meet others, grow a business, or propel one’s self into the job market. Unfortunately, for introverts, the idea of walking into a room filled with unfamiliar people can be a less than ideal experience. It’s not that introverts don’t talk, they just prefer to approach social interaction in a different way than most. How should an introvert approach a new and unfamiliar experience? Well, below are some tips that might help.


Introverts enjoy the company of people they are familiar with. For a first networking experience, an introvert should try to bring along another introverted friend. They can learn from each other and figure out how to navigate a professional social event. It also takes the pressure off of the introverts, because they don’t have to jump into a social group and keep up to speed with the constant stream of ideas flowing from the mouths of boisterous extroverts. Instead, they can listen to others, and play off of each other’s ideas.

 

While it would be nice to always have a trusty partner in crime, realistically, networking events will most likely be attended alone. An introvert should arrive early. When fewer people are in attendance, the introvert might feel more comfortable reaching out to others. Upon walking into an event, and introvert should take some extra time to get settled. He or She should sign in, grab a beverage, and ease into the experience. Try to look for guests that just walked in, or people standing in the perimeter of the room. Chances are, they are looking for someone to begin talking to.

 

If everyone seems engaged with others, the best person to chat with is the host of the event. They can direct a concerned introvert to someone that might be beneficial to connect with. Doing some research before to discover the type of people that will be in attendance, can be helpful when deciding who to focus on connecting with. An introduction can help even the most reserved introvert find a new contact. When networking with an older crowd, and introvert might feel comfortable asking the basics. (How did you get started? Did you always want to do [career] ….?) In turn, the older attendee will have easy to answer questions for the introvert that concern career and course of study.

Lastly,  go through the article again, and replace the word, “introvert” with the word, “you”. Grammatically correct? No, not in all places, but the message stays the same. Chances are, even the most outgoing student will face some nerves when walking into a networking event. Instead of defining yourself by a label, just focus on what you have to bring to the table, and how you will get it there. As tech savvy millennials, we all approach the world in a bit of an introverted way. Hopefully these tips will be helpful the next time a networking opportunity arises. Networking might not get easier, but it does become more beneficial.

-Jeanine Grillo

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