If you’re an introvert, you may love people; it’s the “talking to them” part that’s harder. But if you’re a business owner, people are kinda part of the deal. You need to connect with people to continue to grow your reach and make connections! So… how do you network like a pro?
If you look at networking events and go “Thanks, but no thanks,” then this video is for you. Today I’m going to share with you the top 5 networking tips introverted entrepreneurs can use to build successful connections
The key to social interactions as an introvert is to know when you need to recharge. Your social battery will drain faster than an extrovert’s, but if you can plan for that, you can keep it “topped off” and keep running at your best!
Sometimes, the best thing you can do to ensure that you can recharge is “find a hiding place.” If you’re at a conference, for example, try and get a room close to the event so you can take short “me-time” breaks when you start to feel overwhelmed.
Make sure to also have a care kit for yourself; include headphones, an extra charging cord, snacks, and even a book to read. If you need to step aside, this kit gives you everything you need to recharge without interacting with too many vendors.
And of course, when you can, go with a buddy! Going together will help it not feel so awkward so that the initial hurdle of starting conversations won’t be so taxing on your social battery.
Come prepared to talk! Before you even arrive at the event, it can help to prepare a list of “go-to” questions to strike up small talk, such as:
By planning some of these icebreakers ahead of time, you won’t be left scrambling when the time comes. (Trying to think of conversation topics can drain your battery like crazy!)You also want to prep your “elevator pitch” about your own business. What answers would you give if someone asked you the above questions? Prepare some talking points about your business, and even more importantly, practice them out loud! That way, they will feel natural in the actual conversation.
As introverts, we can get stressed about the talking portion, but there’s good news for all of us introverts out there: networking is as much about listening as it is about talking! Don’t worry if other people seem to be doing a majority of the talking — people have more positive memories of conversations where they do most of the talking.
Remember to actively listen; don’t just zone out! Use that natural introverted empathy to forge connections.
When in doubt, be sure to “dress the part”! Spend time centering yourself in the morning and, more importantly, wear clothes you feel confident in. When you feel comfortable in your own skin, you’ll feel much more comfortable navigating the uncomfortable portions of the networking event.
Begin with a small goal like “Have one meaningful conversation today” and work up from there! The great thing about networking is that it’s a marathon, not a sprint. You want to challenge yourself gently to avoid burnout. That way, you can not only rock the event, but even come out enjoying it!
Networking events don’t have to be a big and scary obstacle to your business development. No matter if you are an introvert or extrovert, there is a networking strategy for you! Want more tips on how to rock your business as an introvert? Check out my handy guide on why introverts make some of the greatest entrepreneurs!