One of the ultimate challenges for introverts in adult life is networking. Networking is essential for generating business contacts and friends who might help you out in developing your career, and it’s often an expected part of your job.
As an introvert, when you are invited to events, do you ever find yourself dreading the networking elements? Wondering who you'll be sitting next to, what to talk about, or if anyone will speak to you? You aren't alone.
Read our tips for how to network at events, designed specially for introverts. So step out of the corner, put your phone down and try to make some connections!
Top networking tips for events
Find out who's attending
Before the event, search its hashtag on social media to find other people who will be attending. Alternatively, many events will have an app where you can see the full attendee list. Why not strike up a conversation or two and agree to meet in person on the day?
Set yourself an objective for the event
It can be useful to work out what you want to get out of networking events. Consider your job role and how the attendees' insights might be useful to you in your everyday role. Or if you're seeking new career opportunities, you can find out more about the companies represented in the room.
Give and receive business cards, whether they're physical or digital, and add your new contacts on LinkedIn or other social channels in the moment.
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Level up your conversation skills
Take some time to come up with conversation starters. You might find reading up on the news and pop culture provides some interesting and relevant ideas (maybe stay away from politics!). We've provided some starter ideas below. If you are concerned about saying something embarrassing, know that you will be the only one obsessing about it. No one else will give it a second thought.
Arriving early before crowds begin to form is a great way to start an event. This gives you an excuse to approach people, especially if you’re the only ones in a room!
Know how to listen - and how to move on
Embrace your assets. Introverts are great listeners, so if you approach a lull in conversation just ask a question about something that was previously mentioned.
Learn how to make an exit. If a conversation is drying out, make your excuses and ask for their business card. And remember to pause before you move on. Take a few minutes to gather yourself before moving on to the next conversation. Speaking to lots of people can be overwhelming for introverts, so its important to check in with how you’re feeling.
Try these conversation starters at your next industry event:
The IMEX team have come up with some interesting conversation starters of our own. We believe meaningful connections are best made face-to-face, and by using these questions as inspiration you never know what you’ll discover!
- What was the first live music event you ever attended? (Carina Bauer, CEO of the IMEX Group, answered Michael Jackson!)
- If you were in a city and had to choose between a good meal and a bad hotel or a bad meal and a good hotel, which would you prefer?
- What are the qualities of a good travelling companion?
- What’s the best evening you’ve ever had?