For many people, including introverts, the art of networking can be a scary thing to think about.
As someone who identifies as an ambitious, go-getting introvert, I often reflect on the time when I went to my first major networking event during my first year in college. Simply put, I had no idea what I was doing in what felt like an overwhelming, noisy environment.
I took what I learned from this experience, however, and, after learning what works for me, that networking can be a wonderful experience! Today, as someone who has attended many networking events, I tend to surprise a lot of people I meet when they find out that I’m introverted, even though I love socializing.
Networking events, like Hustle Summit, aren’t just for extroverts. If you’re an introvert and need help getting started, here are some tips for you to stand out at networking events.
1) Do Your Research
How awkward would it be if you showed up to a networking event and had no idea about any of the attendees? Don’t let this happen to you.
Before the event starts, find out who’s attending. If there are companies or professionals that you’re very interested in connecting with, make a list. Search for their websites, LinkedIn profiles, and social media channels to review their backgrounds and passions. By doing this, you can practice by rehearsing specific questions you want to ask them. This will not only allow you learn more about the attendees at the event, but it will also help you form deeper connections with them.
This leads to tip #2…
2) Less is More
Don’t collect business cards, create strong relationships.
One of the advantages that introverts have over extroverts is that they are more oriented in
developing meaningful relationships with fewer people. I often find that taking the time to have
conversations with those I had a great interest in meeting with is better than rushing to
speak with as many people as possible (and collecting all of their business cards).
If you aren’t able to meet with all of the people you want to speak with, however, don’t feel disappointed. Your time at the event is limited, and you can always reach out to them through virtual means, especially email!
3) Prepare and Practice Your Pitch
Don’t know how to introduce yourself to someone new or an employer that you’re interested in
at a networking event? Spend time crafting your elevator pitch beforehand!
According to Emily Miethner, the ambitious CEO of FindSpark, your “pitch potion” should
include the following things:
- Your background
- A recent relevant accomplishment
- Where and how you want to use your skills
After you’ve created your elevator pitch, practice it! Recite it front of a mirror or with a friend.
Take note of your body language and expressions as you practice your pitch and public
speaking skills. And, most importantly, smile and breathe! Learn more about elevator pitches
4) Use Social Media
As an introvert, I thrive on using social media platforms, especially whenever I attend professional development workshops and networking events. With social media, I can take the time to think about what I want to say without feeling rushed. I highly recommend mentioning specific companies and attendees that you’re interested in speaking with by including their social media handles in your posts. If there’s a specific hashtag that is promoted at the networking event, use it! Take pictures (or selfies) with attendees you spoke with, and tag them in your posts. By maintaining an active professional presence on social media, you can be one step closer to finding future opportunities. To learn more about building your online presence, click here.
5) Following Up
After the event is over, it is extremely important that you follow up with your new connections.
Before you end the conversations with those you met, ask them for their business cards. Send
thank you notes (with follow up questions, if any) no more than 2 business days after the event
to keep the conversations going. Send customized invitations to connect with them on LinkedIn
if you haven’t done so yet, so you can keep up with their successes and on-goings. You are not networking if you are not following up with your new connections! For more tips on how to follow up, click here.
About the author:
Jamie Shum is a senior at Ithaca College who will be graduating with a BS in Communication
Management and Design and a Minor in Music in May 2017. She has completed various professional opportunities within the arts and entertainment industries in NYC, most notably with VH1 and the Rubin Museum of Art. A proud FindSpark member since January 2014, she enjoys sharing her passions about networking, leadership development, personality types, social media, and more to aspiring young professionals in her side hustle as a Guest Lecturer. Connect with her on LinkedIn at linkedin.com/in/jamieshum and view her official website at