I’m shy. Don’t look at me.
I’m shy but I love talking and I love meeting new people. I’ve been thinking about networking for introverts. Recently, I started my own copywriting and editing business. Self-promotion is a vital part of this. So, like a good start-up student, I’ve been going to as many networking events and workshops I can find.
I know I’m not alone when I say I find it stressful to meet new people. I’m a social being but I’m also an introvert and it takes a lot of energy to get out and socialise. If you’re anything like me, you’ll need to develop a networking coping mechanism. I’ve found myself using certain systems and techniques to help me network as an introvert, and knowing that I’m not alone, I wanted to share these with you.
Tops tips to networking for introverts:
1. Be kind to yourself
Prepare yourself and rest-up the night before an event. Imagine you’re going to a wedding or a big festival the next day. Eat something healthy, get enough sleep, turn your phone off, watch a film in your pyjamas. Save and build your energy.
From the moment you get in that room, smile, even if you’re too shy to catch people’s eyes. Smile and say good morning to anyone near by, when you select a seat or make your coffee. It’s hard to start conversations. But if you look approachable, it will surprise you how many people talk to you.
3. Set a target
Go to the event with a clear target in mind. Goal setting makes you feel good and creates a feeling of achievement. It breaks that huge mission into bite-size tasks. Targets are great to reflect on after the event, even if you leave feeling drained and self-critical. Make your target small and achievable: talk to 3 people, smile at 5 people, swap 1 business card. Whatever you decide, make sure it’s something you find challenging but not intimidating.
4. Share your shyness
We’re all shy and insecure in many ways, whether introverted or extroverted. I can’t count the number of times I’ve shared how nervous I am with someone and they’ve said they felt the same. Share and unite – we all feel the same.
5. Make friends after
Some of the best conversations I have with people come after the networking event. I send everyone I met a Tweet or a quick email. That’s where the real connections start. Be sure to follow up the same day or day after the event. Any later than that and people start to forget you. No matter if you look like Chris Pratt or Jennifer Lawrence 😉
So there you have it, my ultimate guide to networking for the introvert. Don’t let shyness hold you back, play to your strengths and be fair with your energy. Now, I challenge you to sign up to one networking event that scares you. Be brave!
I write about productivity, writing and start-ups. I love sharing particle tips and how-tos with you. Click here to sign up to my newsletter to make sure you don’t miss out on the useful tools to help you improve your business.