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Top Tips for networking as an introvert

Do you ever find that after a very full-on week of networking, the inspiration that you usually have when looking for ideas has disappeared!? As I sat at my desk with a mug of Hot Chocolate, my notebook, and my laptop (dream working scenario right there!), I struggled to figure out why I had lost so much inspiration. This was why…

For some, the networking and events side of their business is the best bit! They flow through these events and leave with their glasses full to the brim with energy and motivation for their business, in other words, an Extrovert! For others, Networking is very inspirational, and amazing connections are made, but it takes a lot of practice in learning how to talk to people and often once they get home, feel quite tired from this social interaction – not at all saying that it wasn’t enjoyable however for introverts, this fast-paced, busy, and stimulating environment of networking can be difficult.

Now, correct me if I’m wrong but for everyone networking is a bit of a nerve-wracking experience! Going into a room full of people and having to share what you do is scary! However, for introverts it requires that little bit of an extra push to get up and go to these events and to recover from these too! As someone who not only attends networking groups but also runs them, it is important to understand that it is difficult for some people to come along to these events, whether it’s their first time or they are regulars.

As I attend more networking calls/events, I got to understand how to manage my nerves and pick my energy back up from these events a little bit easier and I wanted to share these in case it can help someone else with their networking:

1 – Have a good routine planned before the event, give yourself enough time to get ready and travel (or log on) to the meeting in plenty of time. This includes making sure you’ve drunk enough water, you’re not hungry and checked your journey time before leaving. Not only will this allow you to feel calmer, it will also ensure that you are in a positive mindset for the event.

2 – Get to know the organiser so that when you arrive, at least you know one person in the room, they can then introduce you to some people to get you into conversations a little bit easier. Maybe you can pop them an email before the event so you can introduce yourself and let them know it’s your first time coming along.

3 – Understanding your nerves is also another thing that you will get more in line with once you have more practice but one top tip is having something to hold when you’re talking to people. For me, I hold my phone or maybe some business cards, something like this to keep you from nervously fidgeting! This might not work for some, everyone shows their nerves differently, but I find that it helps.

4 – Once you have left the meeting, schedule time in to do something that re-energises you. Have something planned that you can enjoy and look forward to, not only will this take your mind off the networking before the event because you are looking forward to this, but it will also be able to recharge your batteries if you are feeling a bit low on energy. This can be anything from a dog walk to sitting in front of the TV with Netflix.

5 – Get to know how long it takes you to re-charge from these events, each will be different and each will have a different environment however if you take the time to figure out how long you need to re-charge before you can get back to work, it will make your job a whole lot easier. Remember, ‘you can’t pour from an empty cup’ ~ Norm Kelly.

5 – Connect with those from the event once you are ready – you will have everyone’s cards and you will know who you want to connect with so only do this once you are ready! You can make some notes about why you want to connect with this person straight after this meeting so you will remember but there’s no rush in needing to connect immediately after the event. This will allow you to gain inspiration and understanding of why you want to connect with this person and I find that it makes it less overwhelming. There’s also no need to connect with everyone at the same time.

These are just some top tips to help make networking that little bit easier and get you feeling more confident in your ability to go to these events! It just takes a second of believing in yourself to book the ticket! Do you have experience with networking? What are the main tips that you would pass on to someone who is just getting started or wants to understand how to network more sustainably?

I’d love to also extend an invite to one of our Female Business Network Gloucestershire events, with a lovely community of entrepreneurs, it’s a lovely place to start your networking experience. Pop me a message and we can have a chat about what the layout of the event is before and how you can come along!

Izzy | Founder of Gloucestershire Virtual Shopping Mall

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