10 of the Best Ways to Network & Build Confidence for Introverts
10 tips on how to network as introverts and build your confidence
It’s one of an introvert’s worst nightmares: mingling in large groups and walking into a crowd…which just happens to be what networking events are all about. Networking as an introvert is hard because most of the time we don’t have the confidence to actually go to them. Building your confidence is a great place to start when it comes to pushing yourself to network.
While we all have access to the internet, which is a place introverts love. In-person network events can a powerful tool for introverts to build their confidence.
Surprisingly, about 50 per cent of the workforce are introverts, so you’re not alone. Many people aren’t even aware that they are one. It’s not that introverts don’t like people, but that they can feel drained from social interactions rather than reinvigorated, such as extroverts are.
Psychology Today has an excellent article on how to determine if you’re an introvert.
So is there any hope for an introvert to network successfully without having to pretend to be someone that they’re not? Absolutely! It just takes a wee bit of planning. Here are 10 of the best ways to network and build confidence for introverts:
10 of the Best Ways to Network & Build Confidence for Introverts
You don’t have to stay for the whole event
Just make an appearance! Plan to stay for at least an hour, and take it minute-by-minute after that. You may surprise yourself by finding that you enjoy talking to and learning from others once you don’t feel ‘stuck’ and without a plan.
Most people are naturally centred on themselves, and won’t notice when you left, but some will notice that you made an appearance. Plus, it gives you more practice to interact at business events and the ability to do most of your networking after the event (more of that to come below).
Wear something that makes you feel extra confident
A great way for introverts to deal with situations that may initially feel scary or threatening is to combat those feelings by being prepared and confident. Knowing you have an awesome statement-making outfit for your networking event is going to give you that first wave of confidence.
Have several go-to outfits in your wardrobe that you can mix and match. Planning ahead will help you to avoid last-minute wardrobe panic or an outfit that feels uncomfortable during the entire event. If you’re in need of fashion tips, I have a recent blog post ‘How to Dress Like a Stylish CEO’ that can help with this.
Listen to positive music or podcasts
Listen to podcasts that are inspiring while you’re getting ready. Blast a playlist that is going to pump you up and set the framework for a positive mindset. Music and positive pep talks can work wonders on our self-esteem.
Plan for times that are going to require that extra push of confidence. Make a playlist of your favourite songs that get you in a good mood. Compile a list of podcasts that are all about confidence and self-esteem. Listening to these consistently can significantly change how you feel about yourself. It’s an excellent way to practice self acceptance.
Set goals for the event
What goals do you want to reach before the networking event is over? List these out in your mind. Maybe you want to give your business cards to at least a handful of people and chat with 3 new contacts one-on-one.
Aim for something that seems reasonable to you, and you’ll be more likely to stick to it when it starts to feel uncomfortable. Accomplish what you came there to do, and then you can be on your merry way (your cat and PJ’s are waiting for you, after all).
Have your elevator pitch ready
Be ready to talk about yourself in a clear and confident way, so that when people ask who you are and what you do, you’re not at a loss for words.
Have a few questions you can ask others so that you can keep the conversation going. This also allows you to find the time to come up with questions and comments that are natural and are based on what they are currently talking about throughout the conversation.
You don’t have to do all the talking (thank goodness!)
In fact, it’s usually better to not be a chatterbox and just listen. People love to talk about themselves, so let them!
As introverts, we tend to do extremely well with picking up subtle cues from others. Put that to good work and find what lights them up the most while you’re talking, and ask questions from there that keeps them engaged.
You’ll likely be able to sense when they are ready to wrap up the conversation, and you can end it on a strong note. Tell them that you loved chatting with them, hand them your business card, and tell them that you’ll be in touch.
Go against your wallflower tendencies
Stop trying to look busy by scrolling on your phone or having that one drink too many to build up your confidence. Smile, remind yourself of what an amazing woman you are and walk up to someone that is standing by themselves.
It can be easier to chat one-on-one than to try to break into a large group. Remember, the whole reason you came to a networking event is to, you know, network.
Do most of the reaching out when the event is over
One of an introvert’s best strengths lies in having engaging one-on-one interactions. This is where you can shine and really build the relationship outside of the networking event. The most important part of networking is nurturing the relationship. Make sure to reach out to several people in the next day or so, while they still remember you.
Tell them how great it was to meet them, and mention something that you discussed in person. And then offer value. It’s not about selling at this point in the relationship. Connect with them on LinkedIn if you can. And don’t forget to follow up. Relationships take time, so don’t be afraid to reach out and see how they’re doing every now and then.
There’s more than one way to network
In-person networking events take time, money, and can be more intimidating, though they do have their place.
Online networking can be an excellent way to stay consistent with building relationships, and you can make more connections in much less time.
Reach out to others in your industry on social media. Join groups that are relevant to your job field. Just make sure to pay attention to group rules. LinkedIn is especially great for building work relationships and networking online.
You should try to network online at least a couple of times each month, and if you’re a business owner then you should aim to do this a minimum of once each week.
Have self care scheduled in for after the event is over
Set aside some time to unwind after the networking event. Reward yourself for being confident enough to put yourself out there! Take a bath, light a candle, turn on some music and read a book.
After you’ve had a bit of time to relax, write down your experience in a journal. Log what went well, what you want to improve on, any notes you want to remember after networking with certain individuals, and who you want to follow up with first.
Then pick up with where you left off, and get back into some much enjoyed quiet time and let yourself recharge. You deserve it!
Now that you have these 10 tips on how to network and build your confidence as an introverts, go find a networking event that you can commit yourself to.
While we may be under quarantine at the moment, there are always online events happening and ways to network online. Don’t let the current pandemic be an excuse to not excel in your business or career!
One online event that you can attend is my Stylish CEO workshop that’s happening 15 April, 2020 at 7:00 p.m. BST. Click on the link to get yourself signed up!
I’m going to go over how to stand out and make an impression amongst the crowd. We’ll discuss why your personal brand is an extension of your brand, how to find your personal style, and how to dress for your body shape.
Plus you will get to network with other female entrepreneurs and businesswomen that are in the online workshop with you.