Building a network of people you can reach out to for advice, vendor recommendations, job candidate referrals and more can make your life much easier. However, if you are an introvert, the thought of connecting with strangers can seem anything but easy.
Follow this advice for networking at industry events:
• Bring an extroverted friend. An outgoing friend may know people at industry events and can introduce to you to them. Even if introverted friends don’t know other attendees, they will have no problem introducing themselves—and you—while highlighting your achievements.
• Speak at events. That may seem counterintuitive, but for many introverts, it is easier to speak on a stage in front of a crowd than it is to make small talk. You will bring people to you and come equipped with built-in conversation points based on your presentation topic.
• Prepare conversation starters. For most introverts, the hardest part of small talk is starting the conversation. Use questions, such as “How did you hear about the event?” or “What’s the coolest project you are involved with right now?” to spark discussions.
— Adapted from “Networking When You Hate Talking to Strangers,” Dorrie Clark, Harvard Business Review, https://hbr.org.