An Introvert’s Guide To Networking & Making Meaningful Connections
by Nadhirah Jamil. |
Before we delve deeper into this topic, how do you tell if you are an introvert?
Do you prefer spending time alone? And how often do you interact with a human being? If you are still uncertain, answer this ‘Introvert Bingo’ based on a book written by Maureen Marzi Wilson titled ‘The Introvert Activity Book: Draw It, Make It, Write It (Because You'd Never Say It Out Loud)’. Let’s see if you can relate to any of these situations!
So, what was your result?! Did you score any Bingos? If yes, then it is no doubt that you are truly an introvert! Not that it is something to be proud or embarrassed about, but, it’s good to know what you are as a person. It is normal to be an introvert because not everyone likes to talk. An introvert prefers solitude over big crowds, have a small circle of friends and prefers to listen instead of doing all of the talking. Besides that, don’t confuse yourself with being an introvert and being shy. Shy is when you have a fear of talking whereas introvert decides not to communicate with people as often as extroverts.
I, myself is an introvert, at times. I’ve had a few hard times adjusting to a new environment and sometimes I would go anywhere by myself. Not that I don’t enjoy the company of others, it’s just that I enjoy silence over chatters. Over the years, I was labelled as snobby by some of my closest friends due to my lack of two-way communication. That’s the thing about being a wallflower, people tend to misjudge you. However, we can’t put 100% blame on them.
As introverts, we need to step up and build the guts to be confident. Once you’ve found the thing that makes you stand out in a room full of crowds, use it! Which is why, in this article, I’m going to share with you on how to connect and network with people, like a pro.
1. Know What You Want To Say
When you know that you’re going to attend a massive event full of people and potential clients, make sure that you come prepared. Prepare what you’re going to say and what to ask. Better yet, practice the night before the event so you’ll be less anxious and nervous. It’s never a good idea to talk when you’re nervous because you will stray away from the topic and the worst case is, you’ll end up being dumbfounded. Depending on the people you’re talking to, it’s always great to ask about what they do in life. For example, if they’re an actor/musician, you could always ask questions like, “When did you first discover your talent?”, “What is the best thing about being an actor/musician?” and “Who is your biggest idol?”.
Based on their answers, you can develop more and more questions related to their profession. Also, Google is your number one source of information. You could always search for questions and answers there.
2. Bring A Friend Along
Some of us feel a lot calmer connecting with others when we bring a friend. A companion will reduce your anxiety and make everything less stressful. Bring a friend who likes to talk so they could help you to build rapport and initiate the first conversation. But, don’t depend too much on your friend because we don’t want people to notice too much of your friend as it should be about you. We want people to see you. Be the man of the hour.
Once you are comfortable with the surrounding, you will find yourself to be able to strike up the first conversation. Try it! If you failed, don’t worry. Learn from your mistakes and improve the next time you’re going to a social event. Don't be too embarassed about it but take it as an opportunity to learn and get yourself out there.
3. Show Your Interest
Since being an introvert is all about listening rather than talking, this is the time to shine. Some people love to talk. They will talk about anything from food, politics, pets to sports, just to name a few. If you don’t want them to know that you’re an introvert, ask them to share with you about their interests. Believe us, you can’t shut them up once they are given a chance to talk about what they loved the most. In return, be a good listener and don’t forget to show your enjoyment. Non-verbal communication is important! Do let them know how much you like their story by nodding, give a positive response and great facial expressions.
4. Stay Connected on Social Media
Do you know that we are a better communicator when we connect via social media? We can share our interests, share news and get to know the people better through these platforms. Do more than just ‘Like’ or ‘Retweet’. Occasionally, you should leave comments on their photos or ask questions to create a stronger network. Your relationship doesn’t have to be strictly business, it can become casual too. Therefore, it’s a good thing to exchange usernames on social media sites such as Instagram, Twitter or Facebook after you’ve met them to keep in touch. The next time you see each other, you’ll have plenty to talk about. So, no more awkward or silent moment!
5. Be Friends With Extroverts
It is hard to change people into someone they are not. But, if it’s for a better purpose, why not? If you still have difficulties establishing a network, challenge yourself and mingle with extroverted groups. Being the only introverted people in the group has its advantages. They will teach you how to talk to people, how to behave in front of others and these people will bring out the best out of you. You’ll be surprised at how extroverted you can be within just a few months. It’s time to step out of your comfort zone and ditch your lonely nights.
With that being said, I hope these guides will help you to build great connections with others. Don’t limit yourself from doing the same thing over and over again. Try out new things, make friends with new people and see how your life come to light!
You may find out more about Nadhirah on her Instagram too.