How to Deal With Networking: An Introvert’s Perspective

By Kurtis Bell

Hello-My-Name-Is-Introvert“I wish I was at home right now.” Recently I was watching a stand up comedy special and the comic opened with that statement. Instantly I was hooked. I was able to relate to what he said because that thought dominates my mind most days. I walk in to a place and think; “This is nice and all, but man do I wish I was at home.” It has nothing to do with any of you. I do not find you annoying, repulsive, or otherwise awful to be around; the fact is, I would just much rather be at home with my dog most days. Here are some strategies that may help ease you out of your home and out to a networking event or business function.
For starters, knowing whether or not you might be a little slow to warm is important. Understanding this gives you the opportunity to explain yourself to others so they do not get the wrong impression. Perhaps you are one that enters a room and needs to scope things out from the comfort of the far corner of the room. Maybe you are the quiet, reserved type of person until you get comfortable around others. Knowing and accepting your disposition can help move you from the person that showed up and talked to no one to the person that had some very engaging conversations once they had the chance to warm up a bit.
Another tactic that you could employ is to bring along an extroverted friend. All of us have that one friend who exudes confidence and will hold court with an oak tree if given the opportunity. Pick their brain before the event. Find out what they are thinking and see what you can learn of the world of extroverts. By knowing how extroverts think, you can better understand those that you will encounter. At the event, your extrovert friend can aid in breaking the ice. They might love the chance to meet new people and introduce you to the conversation. Coming in to a conversation that involves a friend is far better than joining a conversation with total strangers.
Now, you might be thinking that I am not an introvert at all. I am an extroverted introvert, so I do not mind being social, but my mind still always goes back to “I wish I was home right now.” So take it from an extroverted introvert; I have tried both these strategies and can happily report to you that they are effective. I am curious to hear if you have any strategies for introverts that may be struggling to make connections at events. As always, thanks for reading and happy networking!