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As an introvert, networking events can seem daunting. Today, I want to share a story about my experience when I first learned how to network. I attended a United Way event, “Cocktails and Conversations,” in 2016. 

My experience there taught me that networking events are valuable and manageable, even for a shy introvert with social anxiety. 

I started before that event, sitting in my car, rehearsing conversation starters before walking in; I felt the familiar pangs of social anxiety.

I snapped an awkward selfie that I planned to share on social after the event but never did. (until now)

A selfie of a white, blond haired woman wearing a blue flowered dress and white suit jacket. She is in her car with the seatbelt still on, and smiling an awkward smile.
An awkward selfie

Yet, once inside, engaging in conversations, albeit with some awkward transitions, reminded me of the power of making connections.

Navigating through small talk, finding common ground on the United Way’s mission, remembering to take a moment to refresh myself during the event, and sharing stories, I found myself making meaningful connections despite feeling out of place at times.

The evening taught me valuable lessons in networking as an introvert. So, to help fellow introverts, I’ve compiled a checklist to make networking events more approachable:

  • Pick events aligned with your values and interests.
  • Understand the event’s purpose and set personal goals.
  • Practice your elevator pitch to introduce yourself confidently.
  • Use social media to connect with attendees beforehand.
  • During the event, seek out those you’ve pre-connected with and offer help to others who seem lost.
  • Keep a record of new contacts and follow up with personalized messages.

Embracing these strategies has made networking doable and rewarding for me, and I believe it can be for you, too.

If you are feeling inspired to transform your networking approach and want a more in-depth checklist tailored to introverts, then subscribe to my email-based newsletter: 

You’ll get access to more relatable stories, tips, and strategies that have made my networking journey rewarding. Let’s make those networking events less daunting together. Subscribe today.

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