Networking for introverts

Whether you love them or hate them, there’s a reason networking events are so popular. These field-specific gatherings give people an opportunity to meet and form connections with individuals from other companies. Networking events are a great way to scope out job opportunities or just stay in touch with the scene.

If you’re someone who has a hard time putting yourself out there, walking into a networking event can feel a bit like pulling teeth. However, rest assured that many introverts have braved large networking events before you, and many will after. Check out our Guild coaches’ top networking tips for introverts.

 

At big events, I aim to get business cards and contact info and then use those to reach out and plan coffee or one-on-one meetings. Big events can be overwhelming and hard to find genuine connections. By setting up one-on-ones in places I know and am comfortable, I know I can be more authentic.

– Katie D.

 

Wear something that is a conversation starter (looks cool and is noticeable) and has a story behind it. It can give you some neutral ground for getting the conversation started.

– Anna P.

 

Don’t go in without a plan if you know that you’re someone who does not do large crowds well.

  1. Figure out who will be there and curate a targeted list of the most important connections that you want to make (people, companies, etc.).
  2. Make yourself a list of specific questions or talking points that you’d like to hit… don’t leave yourself to guess when you’re there.
  3. If they’re super busy, give yourself a backup plan like getting their contact info to reach out for an individual conversation or coffee at a later time.
  4. Bring a buddy if you’re super nervous!


– Tara M.

 

I like to be mentally prepared with an elevator pitch type of tidbit about myself so that I don’t stumble around words, trying to decide which parts of my experience I want to highlight. Practicing in the mirror can help, too! It feels a little silly, but it reminds you to smile and appear confident and casual.

– Ali K.

 

I push myself and others to talk about their professional goals and passions at all kinds of events — especially family parties, friends’ family parties, and all the fun stuff you do. You never know who you’ll bump into, and those people get to see you comfortable and outside of the professional atmosphere. This will showcase a valuable side of your social skills! It makes the follow-up communication easier as you immediately have a commonality.

– Sam A.

 

I always practice mindfulness before I have to network and I usually will do roleplay scenarios with my sister just so I feel a little more comfortable before going into an event where I know I am going to be more anxious than usual.

– Kasey S.

 

Still not ready to commit to a networking event? Don’t worry — you can get your feet wet with this low-stress warmup.

 

Try to find contacts through other friends or coworkers and ask your friend to introduce you to the new person. Ask them to cc you on an email to the person, i.e., ‘Hi Madelyn, I’m emailing you because I want to introduce you to my friend Anna! She’s really interested in learning more about what you do and I thought you two might be able to grab coffee together soon!’

It’s usually way less intimidating to have a networking conversation with someone new if you have a mutual connection.

– Claire S.

Interested in less traditional forms of networking? Check out four alternatives to networking events!

Like this post? Follow us on Facebook and Instagram for more inspiring stories and helpful tips. If you’re interested in sharing your own story, fill out this form to tell us about your education journey.

Written by Guild Education

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.