Sure, the thought of walking into a room of strangers and picking a few to strike up a conversation with might be one of an introvert’s biggest fears. Heck, even entering a group Zoom might be crippling. Sound like you? Try these tips…

  • Recognize that introverts tend to be good observers. If you’re an introvert, you’re likely going to spend more time observing people in a room than you are jumping from one conversation to the next. But this lets you learn about people before connecting with them. It can allow you to meet someone where they’re at, putting the person more at ease and enabling a more comfortable conversation.
  • Be careful with conversation. As an introvert, you’re probably more concerned about the possibility of wasting someone else’s time. This can help you to carefully consider the opinions of someone you’re sharing a conversation with and lead to more substantive discussions.
  • Practice good listening skills. This is often easier for introverts as they prefer listening to speaking. Give your conversation partner space to express themselves and be comfortable with moments of silence. Being a good listener is the first step in having a meaningful conversation and in forming deeper connections.
  • Identify your goals. This is particularly helpful before attending a virtual event. Think about what you want to learn. Is there something you’d love advice on? What kinds of people would it help for you to connect with professionally? After you’ve asked yourself a few pointed questions, make a list of those types of people you want to meet. Perhaps there’s a participant list for the event that you can view ahead of time.
  • Use the event messaging system. Have you connected with someone that you want to continue a relationship with? If there’s a messaging system for the virtual event, use it to reach out. You can even draft a message for that purpose ahead of time and customize it for each individual.
  • Enlist a friend for help. No one said you have to attend an in-person networking event solo. Have a friend that’s great in these environments? Invite them to come with you as your wing-person of sorts. You’ll absolutely feel more at ease.
  • Take breaks. For introverts especially, a lot of conversation can be draining. Taking a few minutes away can work wonders to help you recharge.

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