When you’re an introvert, in-person networking can feel like an Olympian challenge. More in-person networking events are returning to our business world, which means getting out more will be necessary for job seekers and professionals looking to expand their reach. But what if you’re a shy or introverted person? Or maybe you struggle with social anxiety? We have some strategies to help you meet new people in your industry and form new connections.
Plan Achievable Goals
Social interactions can be overwhelming if you’re an introvert who would rather spend time alone. Before you attend, consider the goals you want to achieve. Establishing your mission will help you check those things off your list. For example, give yourself the task of getting at least two business cards while you’re there. Then, as you meet people, ensure you’re asking for their contact info before you go.
Think of Icebreakers
It can be helpful to consider topics to bring up when meeting someone new. You can break typical introductions into two categories: comments and questions. A question can be a great way to make a new business connection. For example, if you’re part of the same industry, you can ask, “Are you familiar with today’s speaker?” When commenting, you can always follow it up with a question. “I’m always nervous at functions like this. How do you meet new people?” Many other attendees will be extroverts, so a simple question can open the door to a conversation.
One of the most remarkable skills that shy people or introverts cultivate throughout their lives is active listening. Use your superpower now. Active listening means paying attention to what someone is saying without letting your mind wander. You can ask clarifying questions and even repeat back portions of what you heard to engage. Then, you can use this information after the event to reach out to them.
When you’re anxious in a social situation, it can be challenging to remember to smile. But smiling can also change your entire attitude. When engaging with someone, smile at them and nod along with what they’re saying. This simple action can increase your comfort level and put the other person at ease.
Aim for Quality Conversations
If you’re like more introverts, it isn’t socializing that’s the problem; it’s small talk. You’re more than happy to have a deep intellectual conversation with people you know, but asking someone about the weather can feel like torture. While you don’t have to go into controversial subjects, ask questions that have more substance and allow yourself to engage in a quality conversation.
Sometimes, these things are better with a friend. Bring someone with you so you always have someone to talk to but may be able to help you break the ice with strangers. Bringing an extrovert friend can help because they’ll be open to becoming that social butterfly. But even bringing another introvert along can help you engage with more people since others may approach you.
Are you looking for more professional opportunities? Call the team at CornerStone Staffing.