Group of people with two peoples heads shaded out to signify introverts

Business Networking 101: A Guide to Successful Networking for Introverts.

Heading along to a networking group to meet a bunch of new business owners and promote both your business and yourself, is not something that comes naturally to most introverts. Trust us, we’ve been there. Walking into a room full of groups of suits and ties, not knowing anyone, and ending up standing back to the wall or sitting at an unoccupied table, not talking to anyone.

Situations like this is one of the reasons we created The Networkers® NZ. So that everyone, including introverts, can have a friendly space to network and create deeper, more genuine relationships. We’ve actually noticed that a lot of our facilitators are introverts too, who would’ve guessed!

Aside from that, there are some ways that introverts can network effectively. Here are our tips and tricks to survive any networking event.

Before the networking event:

1. Identify your Introverted Strengths

Being an introvert isn’t necessarily a bad thing! You can use it to your advantage.
Your listening skills mean that you can connect with others and your curiosity helps others  to open up. By sitting back and allowing others to open up, you are able to come up with unique ideas, make observations, and find connections that you might not otherwise be able to.

2. Know why you’re going

If networking is already outside of your comfort zone, it’s important to define why you’re actually going. Do you work by yourself and need to meet new people? Do you want more clients? Is the event for education purposes, to learn more from others? Are you looking for personal and business development?

Understanding WHY you go will help to give your networking efforts more direction and purpose.

3. Choose your type of networking event

Once you know why you’re going, choosing the right networking event will be easier!

Smaller, more intimate events can be a great place to start. Low-key networking groups, where you can connect with smaller groups of people and build genuine relationships. Quality over quantity is key for introverts.

Or you could look for events that align with your interests or industry. These events will allow you to connect with people who have a common interest in your industry. You’ll be able to have in-depth discussions on topics that are related to your industry and learn from each other.

Or, if in-person networking events feel overwhelming, you could join online communities. That way you don’t even need to meet them in person! Participating in discussions and sharing insights can be an effective way to network from the comfort of your own space.

4. Be prepared

So you’re not blindsided when you first get to your networking event, we’d suggest preparing a little bit. We have quite a few resources that might help you prepare!

Create yourself an elevator pitch and practice it in front of a mirror or with others, maybe friends or colleagues. Don’t know how to create an elevator pitch? We’ve got you covered with this blog!

You might also like to do a bit of research into who will be there and potentially find some topics of interest. Easy conversation starters are also great for when you meet new people

Also have a look at our recommended things to bring to a networking meeting.

Once you’re at the networking event, everything becomes more real. Just remember these three things and you’ll breeze through it:

5. Connect one-on-one or in small groups

At your networking event, you might see groups of people already chatting, looking like they’ve known each other for years! It’s bound to feel intimidating to go and butt into their conversations! Yikes! Instead look for these people:

  • People in your position, that might be by themselves and looking awkwardly at their phones or standing on the outskirts trying to either find someone to talk to or trying to look busy
  • A group of people standing in an half or open circle. These people are often open to meeting new people

 Talking to a smaller number of people is far less intimidating and  can also lead to a more authentic relationship.

TIP: Once you’ve found a group of people to talk to – we highly recommend you invite other people who are by themselves to come and join the group.

6. Get the conversation going

Now that you’ve found some people to talk to, you do have to actually talk to them!
By asking open-ended questions that invite the others to share and showing interest by listening, you show that you have a genuine interest in the other people which can help you to build long-lasting relationships with these people.

Need some conversation starters? Have a read of one of our previous blogs here.

7. Exchange cards

When you meet people at your networking event, remember to exchange business cards with the people you’re meeting. That means you can get in touch with them at another time.
One tip that we have is to make sure that when you get a card to give a card too!

Congratulations! You’re a successful networker now!
There’s just a couple of things you might like to do after your networking event:

8. Follow up:

Remember when you exchanged those business cards? Now is the time to utilise them.
Follow up with the people you were interested in staying in touch with. Send them a message by email or LinkedIn that expresses that you enjoyed meeting them and suggesting to stay in touch. You could even organise a one-on-one meeting  or coffee to get to know them better.

9. Work on building relationships over time

The best networking relationships are those that are genuine and trusting. So make an effort to keep in touch with your network regularly. Focus on nurturing and maintaining the connections you’ve made and you’ll reap the rewards for years to come.

And that’s that. We hope that this guide has helped take the pressure off your networking experience and you feel that you can attack any networking event head on.

And if you’re looking for a networking group where building genuine and trusting relationships is encouraged, get in touch with us!

Want to give networking a try?

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