I was interviewed recently about my strategies for business networking as an introvert. While I enjoy people, the very idea of attending an event with near-strangers can feel like a chore, which is not exactly an expansive attitude. With my calendar starting to fill up with holiday parties, I have a familiar feeling of dread coming on. Ugh. Another 100 conversations about the weather while eating rich food and drinking alcohol when I’d rather be at my dance class. But I always end up going, and I almost always have a good time. I thought I’d share my strategies with all you introverts out there and those of you dreading these obligatory holiday events.
- Get a buddy. I make sure someone else I enjoy is going to be there, and I coordinate my arrival with theirs. It’s always nice to see a friendly face.
- Pairing. If I’m dreading an event I pair it with something I’ll enjoy, like dinner with friends, an art museum visit, a trip to the gym, etc. I go to the event, then I go do something I love.
- Time boundaries. If I’m really dreading a party, I’ll limit my time to attend — an hour, for example. I might stay longer than I planned, but a limited time commitment will at least get me there.
- Make a new connection. I’m pretty goal-oriented, so if I focus on making a new friend or a new connection or finally meeting so-and-so’s spouse, I have more fun.
- Make room. Let’s face it: An attitude adjustment goes a long way. If I plan my calendar around a party, I discover that there’s time for everything. I will get to go to my dance class next week, I can eat healthy during the day and drink lots of water, I’ll get to go to that really fun party next weekend, etc. That feels more expansive and makes me more open to any event.
Enjoy your holiday season, your family, your friends, your fun parties — and the obligatory ones! If you need more tips and tricks for business networking as an introvert, give me a call.