Event networking for introverts is never easy. For that matter, even some extroverts feel awkward when networking face to face. There is always that little feeling of what you don’t know.
If networking events are difficult for you, there are things that you can do to make them easier.
I prepare for networking events. When I have not prepared, I have found myself walking around without accomplishing anything and uncertain about how to get started. Here are some things I do before event networking.
Prepare Materials When Event Networking
I take my smartphone. I keep my appointments on my smartphone.
However, I like to work with a pen and paper. I take a leather-bound portfolio with a legal pad. I take notes in pen and ink.
I carry a one inch-thick stack of business cards. I keep my cards in one pocket. I place the cards of the people I meet in a second pocket. When I leave an event with many new contacts, I want to put them into my expanding database of contacts. The cards make building this database possible. For people who do not have cards, I make notes on their contact information on my legal pad.
If there is a brochure for the event, I keep a copy of the brochure in the jacket of my portfolio. This brochure helps me find my way around and contact people as the event moves along.
List Contacts in Advance of Event Networking
I make a list of people I specifically want to meet. By making a list of people I want to meet, I can reduce the stress on me through preparation for seeing the people.
I can also do a better job of seeing the people I need to see.
If there is a list of companies or people in attendance, I get a copy of the list before the event.
If I am at a convention, companies have booths. I email or call people to let them know I will come by their booth.
I do not schedule many appointments during the course of a networking event. Too many things can come up to carry people away and cause people to miss appointments. For the appointments I do schedule, I give people my phone number to call me when their schedule has changed during an event.
Things to Say When Event Networking
Remember some basics.
- If speaking with new people makes you uncomfortable, prepare things to say and questions to ask.
- Show an interest in the other person’s discussion
- Ask the person questions about points that interest you.
- Congratulate the person upon successes.
- Listen with empathy. Connect with what the person is saying from their point of view. Ask questions about how they reached conclusions or solved problems.
The Positive Side of Being an Introvert When Event Networking
Anxiety is a signal that tells us to expect things. If we use that signal as a message to prepare for our meetings, we can do a better job of getting ready and our meetings will go better.
Remember that everyone gets nervous sometimes. It is part of being human. Having a little anxiety is okay. It is even a good thing when I use the feelings to plan and prepare for successful event marketing.