Business 5 tips for networking at conferences as an introvert

5 tips for networking at conferences as an introvert


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Let’s face it, networking can be a daunting experience for almost anyone everyone, but if you’re the type of person who identifies as an introvert, then you probably understand that struggle better than anyone. Just the thought of meeting new people at a networking event can be enough to make your stomach knot. I can empathize with that feeling of dread because I too am an introvert and have had to make a complete mental plan when attending major networking events and trade shows.

However, there are so many benefits to networking and attending conferences that it’s well worth the awkwardness. Networking events can help you develop relationships in hours, which can take years online. When I forced myself to attend events, I was able to forge new strategic partnerships and even make lifelong friendships.

Creating an action plan before attending the conference is key to a successful networking experience. Here are my top five tips that I use every time I attend a conference:

1. Create a specific goal for the number of people you want to meet at the event

If the event is two days long, don’t get overzealous and expect to meet 50 people. As introverts, we much prefer to have fewer interactions that are deep and meaningful. I usually have the intention of meeting three to five great people every day that I think will become long-term connections. If I only connect with two that day, but they were meaningful conversations, I’m not beating myself up with a missed opportunity. On the contrary, I reward myself for having the courage to talk to two strangers.

Related: 6 ways introverts can’t feel shy at conferences

2. Break the ice before you show up

Once you’ve set a specific goal to meet others at the conference, do some initial research online and send each person an introduction via email or message before meeting them in person. In general, I will review all information on the conference website, including specific booth numbers.

In addition, I research the profiles of the attendees on LinkedIn, so that I gain insight into their backgrounds and interests. To break the ice, I always create a personalized video and forward it to their email or through LinkedIn messages.

Here is an example of my video script “Hey Lisa, I can’t wait to connect with you at the National Cybersecurity Conference next week. After reviewing your LinkedIn profile I am even more impressed with your commitment to the healthcare security. I would like a 15 minute call at your booth #225 to learn more about your initiatives for 2023 and share our current healthcare cybersecurity strategy. Do we need to schedule a time, or can I just drop by come by and introduce myself?” In most cases, cold calls, emails, and messages get very few responses. However, the video messages I send have a 70% success rate due to the personal touch and the urgency of the upcoming conference.

3. Come prepared with three key points to share in the conversations

When meeting people at networking events, make sure you come prepared with ideas for what to share. Sometimes you might only have five minutes, so you have to treat it like it’s an elevator pitch. Consider the three critical points you would like them to remember. One of those points should be a story or an impressive statement that makes them want to know more about you and your company. Here is an example of a three-point approach. “Lisa, thank you for taking a moment at the cybersecurity conference today. Two years ago, our team cracked the code to eliminate 98% of ransomware threats within 8 seconds of detection. We would like you to test our software and see if it can complement your security process How is your team currently handling ransomware threats with your prospects This can help pave the way for meaningful dialogue and get the conversation off to a strong start.

Related: Even introverts can excel at networking by following these steps

4. The person who talks the most loses the deal

The adage that most people prefer to talk about themselves or their interests is true. That’s why I usually focus on 70% of the conversation being led by them. As they talk, I make mental notes about anything interesting or relevant that can be used to respond purposefully. In fact, I rarely prepare a full conversation agenda because the agenda is improvised during the conversation. This way, the discussion can be authentic and spontaneous, as opposed to rehearsed answers. This can help you stay focused and engaged in the current topics being discussed as opposed to the topics you thought would be discussed.

5. Always find your anchor

One of my first goals at a conference is to find my anchor. An anchor is someone you can talk to during the conference and they will assist with introductions or suggest specific conference workshops. I rarely know the anchor prior to the event. However, I always know when I’ve met my anchor because they are easy to connect and can open doors to situations that could be uncomfortable for an introvert. Finding my anchor is essential otherwise I might feel so uncomfortable and hide in a corner or go back to my hotel room. Honestly, I’ve done both many times at conferences.

Last words

Networking is rewarding and can help you open many doors in your business. For introverts, connecting and networking in large crowds can always feel a little awkward. However, with a few key tips, you’ll find that networking can be less stressful and more fun. Good luck!

Shreya Christina
Shreya has been with for 3 years, writing copy for client websites, blog posts, EDMs and other mediums to engage readers and encourage action. By collaborating with clients, our SEO manager and the wider team, Shreya seeks to understand an audience before creating memorable, persuasive copy.


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