It’s an exciting time for all of us and even despite being an introvert, I am looking forward to the event as well.
Unfortunately, my nerves still get the best of me.
With events like this, I’ve found that a little preparation and keeping a few tips in mind helps ease my social/networking jitters make to most of my experience.
If you get similar nerves and find yourself wanting to hide rather here are a few tips for still winning at networking and making the most of your conference experience:
1. Set Small Goals:
Instead of attending an event or conference with the intention of making the one connection that will skyrocket your business or feeling as though you need to hand out 30 business cards, create smaller goals for yourself.
Start by sitting next to some new for each session and striking up a casual conversation or joining in on at least one group conversation per day.
By setting and attaining smaller networking goals, you will begin to push beyond your comfort zone and alleviate some of your conference nerves.
2. Actively Listen:
We all appreciate genuine interest during a conversation and in order to display our interest we listen and show that we are fully engaged.
For introverts or shy people, listening is our specialty. So, use this to your advantage!
Listen to the individual(s) and resist the urge for distraction. Keep your eyes within the conversation rather than wondering around the room or even consider by leaving your phone in your pocket or bag so that you do not reach for it.
The advantage of practicing being fully engaged is you can pick up on verbal and nonverbal cues that would otherwise be missed if distracted.
This engagement also allows you to ask more thoughtful and pointed questions which indicates to the individual that their opinions are valued and appreciated.
3. Start With a Question:
Through the use of the power of listening, as illustrated above, you should be able to identify specific questions to ask directly related to the conversation/individual.
Asking more questions and steering the conversation shows genuine interest in the person and subject matter and breaks the ice. If you are struggling with where to start, ask about the event like, “What brings you to this event?” or “What has been your favorite session of the day?”.
4. Allow Yourself to Take a Break:
For introverts and shy people, attending a full or multi-day conference can be exhausting due to the constant stimulation and large groups of people.
While setting goals yourself and having smaller more in-depth conversations is important in making your conference attendance a success, so is identifying small pockets of time to take a break and recharge.
Often 10-15 minute breaks provide enough time to reset and feel refreshed to attend the next session or join the next conversation.
To make the most of your mini breaks, you could take a walk close to the venue to explore local surroundings, step out for a quiet lunch, or have a conversation with a close colleague or friend to give you a boost.
Break the Ice!
I run through these tips before almost every professional event to help ease my nerves and boost confidence.
The professional and personal value in attending live events and conferences such as IMPACT Live far outweighs the desire to stay in your comfort zone.
By challenging yourself to push past your boundaries and use your strengths of listening and observation, you will come away with much more value from the conference.
If you are looking for more helpful advice on how to successfully navigate an event as an introvert, check out the infographic from Digital Information World below! And if you’re in the Connecticut area and haven’t grabbed your ticket yet, join us at IMPACT Live this week! Over 400 marketers already are. :)