For this week’s article, I called in an expert on introverts. Katie Rasoul is a Millennial, mom, and coach, who enjoys finding awesomeness in all areas of life. She is the Chief Awesome Officer for Team Awesome, author of Hidden Brilliance: A High-Achieving Introvert’s Guide to Self-Discovery, Leadership and Playing Big, and TedX speaker with a talk titled “Uncovering the High-Achieving Introvert.” She also happens to be one of the great friends I made during my coach training with iPEC. We met for breakfast and I had her walk me through her top tips for networking while introverted:
- Have a plan – When you are faced with a networking event, dinner party, or other activity that typically requires you to “work the room”, make sure you have a plan. What goal do you have for attending the event? Who do you want to meet? What can you learn about the other attendees in advance? Having a plan will provide you with a goal and outcome to focus on, which will alleviate your stress and anxiety and not leave you wandering aimlessly through displays of mini-hot dogs and carved meats.
- Connect in advance – If you know someone is attending who is #1 on your list to meet, send them an email or LinkedIn message in advance of the event. Let them know who you are and why you are looking forward to meeting them in person. This makes it less awkward when you want to work yourself into a conversation with him or her at the event.
- Shift your mindset – This was the game-changer for Katie. She originally thought networking was all about talking about herself, something that sends even the most open of introverts fleeing to the corners of the room. Her mindset shift was viewing networking as an opportunity to listen and ask others about themselves. Now, instead of experiencing anxiety, Katie focuses on asking the best questions possible. She said eventually the conversation partner will ask about her, which is where the next tip comes in.
- Have your pitch down – The inevitable question in networking is “what do you do.” Prepare for this answer. Make it creative, relevant, and personal. Practice it so it comes out naturally.
- Find connections to bring yourself into the conversation – If asking amazing questions doesn’t get your conversation partner to flip the script on you, find natural connections in order to talk about yourself. After all, you’ve practiced your pitch, gotten up the nerve to attend, so it’s important to allow people to get to know YOU as well.
Here are Katie’s top day-of networking event survival tips:
- Get there early (or first). This allows you to get warmed up and allows you to interact in smaller groups to start.
- It’s OK to go to the bathroom….for 10 minutes. Collect yourself, breathe and remind yourself that YOU ARE AWESOME and YOU CAN DO THIS.
Thanks, Katie for being awesome and sharing your tips!
P.S. I highly recommend you check out Katie’s book Hidden Brilliance. This is a great read for introverts, those trying to understand introverts, or who want access to some of the best personal development work available.
Are you an introvert? I’d love to hear how you survive networking events and how these tips help you out. Share what made you successful, or share when you found yourself reverting to old habits. Comment below or share your ideas on Facebook or Twitter!
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