This is the third post in my series on networking as an introvert. See post #2 here.
Most introverts feel uncomfortable when they’re networking in person. You may feel nervous and hesitant, too. Sometimes, your discomfort can make you seem unapproachable and causes other attendees to feel like you aren’t interested in talking or interacting with them. That’s why it can be helpful to keep the 4 B’s in mind when you’re networking.
Your body language often communicates louder than anything you could say. If you keep your arms crossed during most events, people will assume you’re unfriendly. If you spend the entire event wrapped up in your phone, other attendees will think you’re bored or unapproachable.
Take a few seconds during each event to observe your own body language. If your shoulders are hunched, relax them. If you’re looking at the flooring or ceiling, stop and look up. Meet the eyes of other attendees and give them a brief smile. Adjusting your body language may seem simple but you’d be surprised at how approachable it makes you look.
Be the first to say ‘Hello’.
Don’t wait around for someone else to start a conversation with you. Even extroverts can be nervous in social situations so take the lead. You can start by introducing yourself and asking a simple question. Ask what upcoming projects the attendee is excited about or ask how they got into their profession.
You’re not attending this networking event to impress everyone with your runway skills. When you’re uncomfortable with how you look, it’s hard to feel good about yourself. That’s why you should wear clothes that make you feel confident.
If possible, add an accessory to your outfit that makes you happy. It might be a pair of cute earrings, a small handbag, or a pair of fancy shoes. Wearing something that brings you joy is one simple way to keep your confidence level up as you network.
You may feel awkward and nervous when you’re in a conversation with someone you don’t know. It can be tempting to use one word answers or just nod along as the other person does all the talking.
But a big part of the reason you’re at a networking event is to socialize. That means opening up and participating in conversations, even if you feel uncomfortable at first. Instead of answering questions with just a word or two, try to provide a bit more detail. For example, if someone asks what you do, don’t answer, “I’m a marketer.” Instead try something like, “I’m a video marketer. I help small companies learn how to use livestreaming and vlogging to get more customers.”
It’s normal to feel a bit uncomfortable at a networking event, especially if you’re an introvert. But don’t let that stop you from socializing and having a good time. Stay approachable and if you see someone alone, don’t be afraid to start a conversation with them.
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Look for other posts in this series!
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