As introverts, there is something that we all can agree on: social events are exhausting.
It’s not that we don’t enjoy being around people, or we don’t like to expand our bubble, it’s simply that it’s draining. Networking becomes harder when it’s something you have to recharge from. However, in the world of business, it’s something very helpful and necessary to successes both big and small.
Having a strong network is beneficial for many reasons. Some of which are:
Hidden job opportunities
Advancement in your own career, or helping others advance in theirs
Mentorships, resources, advice, and support from like-minded people
The perspective of others can help you come up with unique, strong ideas
Due to the pandemic, in-person networking events have screeched to a halt. For many introverts, this is a small blessing. Online networking events and connecting through social media has been huge during this time. You can expect that throughout this pandemic and beyond, online networking will remain very popular.
Online networking has opened up many opportunities for introverted business owners and entrepreneurs to put themselves out there, particularly on a smaller scale. This is a big advantage because meeting in smaller groups or one-on-one really allows each person to get to know each other and to deepen the connection. You can actually remember their name and face instead of forgetting due to the sensory overload that is going to a large event and meeting countless new people.
There's really nothing better than making connections from the comfort of your own home!
So let’s get to it. One introvert to another, here are some of the best networking tips I can give:
It goes without saying that when you feel good, you look good. Choosing an outfit that you love and feel comfortable in is a huge confidence boost. Make sure to tailor the style to the event; whether businesswear, casual, elegant, or otherwise. Other ways to boost confidence are: having your hair done, and wearing or even removing makeup - whichever your prefer. This goes for both in-person and online networking!
Have answers for classic questions like “Tell me about yourself,” “How did you get started?” “What are you passionate about?” or other questions relevant to your particular field.
Utilize Social Media
Social media is your friend! Joining networking groups and attending online events are two great ways to build connections. Reaching out and getting to know others through platforms such as LinkedIn and Instagram is another awesome and easy way.
These types of referrals are very trustworthy because they're by someone you already know. Being referred to someone, referring someone to another, or having someone be referred to you is a great way of network building. Be very open and welcoming to this idea.
Meet with Smaller Groups
As previously stated: smaller groups or meeting one-on-one really allows each person to get to know each other and to deepen the connection. For us introverts, it's easier and there's overall much less pressure when you're not attending a large event.
After a warm and welcoming introduction, asking questions to someone else is a great way to engage without really having to talk too much. However, of course, expect to be asked some questions about yourself. Hopefully by that point you'll feel more comfortable.
Have a Business Card and Give it Out
Having a great business card and being able to give it out to people you're networking with is an amazing way to be remembered. Include relevant social media and contact information for them to be able to find you. This also opens up doors for personal referrals!
Go to Events with Someone
This someone should be a person already in your network, a business partner, or an associate. When in-person events are back, being with someone you know eases a lot of pressure and nerves.
Give Yourself Time to Recharge
This may be the most important tip I can give. After networking, you likely will be very drained. Set aside some time for yourself to relax and take it all in afterwards. Do some self care. You will thank yourself.
At the end of the day it’s most important to just be yourself. Expanding your network with like-minded businesspeople will only truly be beneficial to you if you're true to who you are. Although it may feel like more work, you can effectively build connections while being reserved, quiet, or any other adjectives associated with being introverted.
Put your authentic self out there, make some great connections, recharge, and repeat as you see fit and are comfortable with. As an entrepreneur or small business owner, you'll surely reap the rewards.