Figuring out how to communicate presents difficulties for all of us, especially introverts. If socialization tires or scares you, you may feel unsure of what it takes to improve your communication skills.
Will you need to assume a different character? Are introverts at a disadvantage here?
Fortunately, the answer to these two questions is a resounding “no”! Introverts have unique strengths that they can put into mastering networks. Communication takes work for introverts, but it’s worth it.
Read on to learn tips on how introverts can deal more effectively with networking.
How to Connect Online and In Person: An Introvert’s Guide
1. You don’t need to pretend to be an extrovert.
The idea that introverts must create a false, extroverted self in order to communicate successfully is old and harmful. Forcing yourself to open up to others can lead to problems like Impostor syndrome And the Burnt. It can also be read as fake to others.
Embrace your authentic self for best results.
2. Practically network.
Communication skills extend to the digital world. If you don’t always enjoy personal socializing, you can facilitate communication by using professional networking sites and social media to share your work and connect with others. Introverts may find online communication less draining and easier to manage at their own pace.
3. If mega events aren’t for you, skip them.
Mega events are not suitable for everyone, especially introverts who may have anxiety issues. Remember, you don’t need to force yourself to attend large-scale optional events to communicate successfully.
Forcing yourself to attend these events may take time that you would spend communicating in more comfortable places.
4. If the event is in person, bring a ‘friend’.
Bringing a business or personal friend can make it easier to avoid feelings of embarrassment or boredom at personal events.
If you have a mate with you, have a spare conversation partner for the periods you spend waiting for an interesting or meaningful new connection to emerge. And if your friend is open and can take the lead in introducing you to others, all the better.
5. Find other introverts.
When reaching any networking setting, keep your eyes peeled for your introverted fellows. Who looks on the sidelines, out of sight? Who talks less and listens more? You may find these people easier to approach.
6. Arrive early.
Arriving at events early can also help. There are fewer people, and attendees are still looking for conversation partners. Approaching a lonely person can be less intimidating than diving into an active conversation.
People who show up early may be more serious and prefer real conversations.
7. Set intentions and goals in advance.
You can improve your event attendance results by setting your intentions and goals in advance, such as:
- Focus on real interactions
- Talk to two to three people per event
- Leave early so you don’t get overwhelmed
Think about what you hope to learn or gain from the events or people. Practice interactions – such as introducing yourself or summarizing your role – beforehand.
8. Realize that most people feel the same way you do.
You’d be surprised how many extroverts find it difficult to talk to strangers! Practically anyone can feel self-conscious and socially uncomfortable. Many of those attending the networking event hope that someone will approach them. Do the jump and try to get close first.
9. Know yourself, and set reasonable expectations.
Pay attention to your limitations and take care of yourself. If you’re at capacity, apologize and regroup. If you strive to push your limits and end up unhappy, you will struggle to make effective connections and network.
10. Ask for warm introductions.
Is there someone you would like to meet or learn from? Feel free to ask for mutual communication for a warm introduction. Introductions are just another form of social lubricant that makes it easy to start on a positive note with strangers.
11. Hang around in the suburbs.
There is a lot to be said for staying out of the spotlight. Most in-person events feature less active areas on the sidelines where people can recharge. This is where you are likely to meet like-minded individuals.
12. Don’t pressure yourself to get perfect.
Don’t be hard on yourself if you sometimes get false feedback when trying to connect to the network. Every once in a while you can build up a potential connection in your mind as something important, but it just doesn’t happen. It is possible not to click with certain people without any fault on your part.
Go ahead and stay optimistic.
13. Accept that it is normal and natural to have nerves.
It’s okay to feel a little nervous about communication. Introverts and extroverts alike struggle with nerves at times. Approaching interactions with confidence and not sweating over the little things can go a long way when communicating.
Remember to treat yourself kindly and stop judging yourself and others.