Fellow introverts, I am here to tell you: You can be introverted, attend networking meetings, and not feel like your head is going to pop off in the process.
I am living proof! I attend at least two networking meetings a week. It’s been a work in progress to find the right “balance” of networking and introversion, and I have narrowed it down to three key tips.
If you’re an introvert who needs clients, please keep reading, okay?
I am an introvert, yet I network all the time. How do I manage it?
It took so time to find the right balance (and the right type of networking) to get out there without wearing myself out. I have narrowed it down to three networking tips, which I think will help you as an introvert.
#1: Your introversion is not a crutch
I am being completely honest with you: In the past, I have struggled with using my introversion as an excuse to not network.
I love being at home, tootling away on my laptop, and hanging out with my dog. Unfortunately, these actions don’t bring me a lot of clients.
I also know that attending networking meetings, conferences, and other gatherings can exhaust me. But I also know these meetings and events will help me meet my ideal clients!
So, when you’re feeling like you are using your introversion as an excuse, own it, and then push past it.
Introversion is a personality type and a way of life, but never an excuse to avoid activities that will help grow your business.
#2: Set boundaries
You know you’ll be exhausted after a networking meeting. You know you’ll be totally wiped out after a three-day conference.
So, use that knowledge to your advantage!
Promise yourself that you’ll only spend 10 minutes after the networking meeting talking to others and politely go home. If needed, block your calendar after the meeting for a nap or quiet time.
If you’re at an event, plan alone time—maybe during meals or breaks. Allow yourself to refuel your tank.
Exhaustion sets in when you don’t plan your “refueling time” and keep pushing through. Maintain those boundaries and you’ll have an easier time.
#3: Introverts need the right networking opportunities
Every networking experience is unique. Some networking meetings are more traditional with elevator speeches and business card exchanges. Other networking experiences are more intimate with educational opportunities and online gathering spots.
My advice? Shop around and find the best networking group for your personality. When you like hanging out with the people in your networking group, you’ll enjoy going, and it won’t be so tiresome.
Don’t forget about virtual networking opportunities too. These groups meet over Zoom, so you’re essentially networking from home. I am the founder of Virtual Networkers—a global virtual networking organization for women entrepreneurs—and many introverts are part of our networking group. Why? Because it helps them save time, money, and energy.
One final tip: When you’re networking, just focus on one or two people per meeting. This will help you develop deeper relationships and will make networking feel more intimate. And it usually helps introverts feel less overwhelmed when attending a meeting.
If you need clients, you need to network. It’s a fact of entrepreneurship. When you’re an introvert, networking can be hard, but if you implement the three tips in this blog post, you’ll find networking to be enjoyable and profitable—without totally draining you.