How to Network as an Introvert

Something not many people know about me — I’m an introvert. Yes, I said it! I am much more energized from spending time alone. It does not mean I’m not social, however! I love people and attending social events, but when I get home from them I am drained. Completely. At times, the anxiety I get from knowing how exhausting it’s going to be has kept me from going to events. Surprisingly, many do not know this about me, because I appear extroverted in these events. I approach these events with a smile and confidence. It’s taken me a while to build up to this and to be honest, I’m still practicing it. When it came time for me to attend three days of social events at Bellevue Fashion Week I knew I needed to be at my best. With a few secrets to success that helped me get through all the socializing, I decided to share these seven tips with you.

Networking as an Introvert - 7 Tips to help you conquer your networking fears

Networking as an Introvert - 7 Tips to help you conquer your converstaion fears | Style Miss Molly1. Rest up

If you know that networking events are going to be completely draining, then do everything you can to mentally prepare. Take time for yourself before the event in order to recharge and be at your best. For me, this means some alone time through listening to music or reading a book. Once I am rested, I am fully ready to take on some fun social events!Networking as an Introvert - 7 Tips to help you conquer your networking fears

2. Mentally prepare

Next to being physically rested up, it always helps to mentally prepare myself too. This could include giving myself a little pep talk, but mostly includes coming with a list of conversation starters. It is so much easier to walk up to someone when you aren’t stuck on what to say. Here’s some I’ve found quite helpful:

  • Because I’m a fashion blogger, I find it easiest for me to find an outfit in the room I admire and compliment it. This is the best icebreaker. What better way to start a conversation than by paying someone a compliment?!
  • “Hi, I’m Molly.” Although it takes the most confidence for me, if I say it with a smile, it works every time, especially when said to that loner in the room that looks a little overwhelmed too.
  • “This is such a beautiful venue. Have you been here before?”
  • “How did you hear about this event?”
  • “That (food/drink) looks good! What is it?”Networking as an Introvert - 7 Tips to help you conquer your networking fears
Networking as an Introvert - 7 Tips to help you conquer your networking fears3. Go with someone

I can not tell you how much easier it is to go with someone to the event. Not only is it fun to share the same experiences with a friend, it can help take the pressure off and leave you feeling much less intimidated. My beautiful friend from Aika’s Love Closet went with me to Bellevue Fashion Week and I was so glad to have her by my side!

Networking as an Introvert - 7 Tips to help you conquer your networking fears4. Take baby-steps

Each time I go somewhere I try to push myself out of my comfort zone a little more. By making a small goal such as, “I’m going to introduce myself to just one person,” or “pass out two business cards,” it will leave you feeling satisfied once you’ve completed it! The next time you go, make the goal of meeting two people or pass out three business cards and you will see it getting easier each time!

Networking as an Introvert - 7 Tips to help you conquer your networking fears5. Listen

One of the best tips I’ve learned about networking comes from the book “How to Win Friends And Influence People.” I highly recommend this book if you are looking to grow your network of friends and become a better conversationalist. Dale Carnegie recommends listening and asking questions. Sounds simple right?! Keep the conversation focused on the other person by listening and asking questions and they will be sure to walk about thinking you are the best conversationalist ever!

Networking as an Introvert - 7 Tips to help you conquer your networking fears6. Know you’re not alone

I’ve come to realize that many people in the room are probably feeling just the way I am. They don’t know a lot of faces and they don’t really know what to expect from the event either, so why worry? Going up to someone isn’t so intimidating if you know they are probably feeling the same way. I can’t be the only introvert in the room, after all!

Networking as an Introvert - 7 Tips to help you conquer your networking fears
Networking as an Introvert - 7 Tips to help you conquer your networking fears7. Keep smiling!

Of course, this is my go-to phrase, but I say it for a reason. A smile is incredibly disarming. It immediately puts others at ease and makes you appear more approachable. If you stand there with a smile on your face, you will be amazed at how many people are more inclined to walk up to you and begin a conversation.

Networking as an Introvert - 7 Tips to help you conquer your networking fears

Keep smiling!
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Miss Molly

I’m Molly! I live in Seattle and am an optimist, adventurer, and bold lipstick wearer. I created this space to inspire and empower women with words of encouragement known as #MollysWords and share inspiration through my personal style. I always want my readers to leave with a smile and I hope you do!

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28 Comments

  1. The Adored Life
    October 17, 2016 / 6:32 pm

    This is such perfect timing and I love your tips! As I’ve gotten older I have become much more introverted and it’s been a lot harder to network and make friends!

    The Adored Life

  2. Guard The Vineyard
    October 17, 2016 / 8:09 pm

    Molly! So funny, I was dying to go to an event at Neiman’s a while back and I kept thinking that I should call you and see if you wanted to hold my hand.
    Mainly I wanted to go because my inclination is that from Seattle Bloggers, I feel that Aika and Megan are the two I could really jive with! (But that’s social media judgement so I could be way off, who knows.) Both of theses ladies were hosting the event, and I was really wanting to meet them, but I made my excuses. Being too introverted and drained by social interaction, being too introverted to pick up the phone and call my sister (for heaven’s sake!) and other reasons that you know. Excuses!
    So in the meantime I might just sit back and see if I possess the ability for any virtual “success” and if that happens start networking?! Haha.

    Have a good evening dear!
    Sorry that I’ll be missing you on Thursday Night

    Sincerely, -Lauren | Guardthevineyard.com

    P.S. Is she as Rad in person as she is online? Aika, that is?!!

    • October 17, 2016 / 8:14 pm

      Aww girl you should have gone! You would have enjoyed it because I was there! Funny thing was I was dreading going and almost didn’t go, but sucked it up and had a blast! I wish you would have come 🙂 and yes, Aika rocks! Love her! Come with me to an event soon! I would love someone to bring along!

      • Guard The Vineyard
        October 18, 2016 / 11:01 pm

        We’ll plan something! But first, and most importantly: let’s contrive a more intimate cup of chia tea or flower shuttering/chocolate cupcake capture at our local Met Market?! ..We let too much time pass.

    • October 18, 2016 / 2:34 pm

      OMG Lauren!!!! How sweet of you to mention my name on someone’s post!! To be honest, I sometimes don’t like social media at all cuz it has the certain limit to show who I am over there. So that’s why I try my best to go out to events as many times as possible to REALLY introduce myself. So everyone can know me better plus I believe I am better in person lol haha
      Three years ago, I started my blog and I was totally hesitate to go to ANY event. Imagine my English is 3 times worse than right now… I couldn’t catch up everyone’s conversation, thus didn’t know what to answer or comment back. All I could do is smiling. However, never forget the will to dress up better than any one at the event! But now that my efforts paid off and was able to build up the confidence to say HI to someone I don’t know. Luckily my colored hair is an awesome trigger and a lot of people come to me with amazing compliments and I can start conversation!! 🙂
      So girl, next time you should come 100% – no excuse! It surely needs some courage, but even little courage can change the world! <3 <3

      xo,
      AikA❤︎

      ★BLOG★
      ★INSTAGRAM★
      ★FACEBOOK★

      • Guard The Vineyard
        October 18, 2016 / 11:32 pm

        Thank you for being so sweet and vulnerably open with this comment Aika. This shows that you are being real and honest with people!
        I really appreciate your example with a second language too because in the past two years my life has changed a lot! I always felt tired after social events, only because I preferred doing things alone, but I was confident enough to take them on. In the past two years I got really sick and it has changed my life, no longer do I have confidence because illness can affect all of my physical abilities, appearance, conversation, brain function and it stole a lot of things from me. Sometimes the results of the illness can cause me to feel ashamed.
        The good news is now I have a blog and I wanted one for a very long time, but I was so busy and now I have the opportunity to try and blog!
        I’m happy that you shared with me how scary it was for you to get out there because I no longer have confidence, it’s a big reason I wanted Molly to “hold my hand” for your event!
        Sorry that I did not attend that time! In the future I will (health allowing) if nothing else; in support of you!
        Thank you both of you girls for sharing and being so open! Being introverted is hard enough, overcoming frightening effects of: language barriers, anxiety, illness only adds to the desire to hide behind our computer screens.
        Sincerely, -Lauren

  3. October 18, 2016 / 2:51 am

    That blue dress is beautiful! I love the details along the trim! I’m not great with large social settings either and find that having a friend with me while I have to “network” is always the best way to go 🙂

  4. Kait Elizabeth
    October 18, 2016 / 1:20 pm

    These are great tips babe! I know for me it helps when I take someone with me- definitely makes me feel more comfortable. I know it makes it hard when everyone thinks you’re extroverted but your really dying inside! Hugs, Kait

  5. October 18, 2016 / 2:43 pm

    Babe, this post really reminds me of me three years ago as I was just starting my blog! I was super duper hesitate to go to blogger events, seriously I didn’t wanna say HI to anyone cuz I was so scared if our conversation didn’t expand or etc…. I can totally relate to all those tips! And so much YES to the last tips! Our smiles is the best accessories for any occasion! Thank you so much for coming with me – having you around me is always so fun (plus you are my favorite English teacher! 😉 )

    xo,
    AikA❤︎

    ★BLOG★
    ★INSTAGRAM★
    ★FACEBOOK★

  6. October 18, 2016 / 4:19 pm

    molly–great post, i couldn’t wait to come by and check it out because guess what??! i’m also introverted as well!! people (esp blogging friends) find this very interesting. i’m totally with you though on ALL of this! but the more i’ve attended events, the less daunting/draining they become. practice makes perfect?! haha, okay but i’m still working on it! having a PIC really helps, and tip #4 is the best! i also think its great to push your boundaries too, see what you are capable of, which is a heck of a lot! thanks for sharing this one, i really enjoyed it! xoxo,

    janna | http://www.jannadoan.com

  7. October 18, 2016 / 5:53 pm

    These are such fantastic tips, gorgeous! I typically call myself an introverted extrovert (or extroverted introvert), and so I definitely still struggle with feeling at home in a busy environment filled with people. It’s great to know that others are in the same boat and that there ARE actually ways to help it! Thanks so much for sharing. Also, you look STUNNING in that blue!!

    Stephanie // SheSawStyle.com

  8. Thomas Falkenstedt
    October 19, 2016 / 3:59 am

    Thank you so much for sharing such a personal post! It is important that all kinds of taboos around psychological issues are removed and that people are made aware that anxiety, panic attacks etc aren’t issues to be ashamed of and it’s great that influencers like yourself bring awareness to things such as being introvert which is far more common than people think!
    I love your honesty (and your beautiful pics)!
    Love,
    Thomas

    http://www.thomasfalkenstedt.com/2016/10/19/how-to-fit-mindfulness-into-a-busy-schedule/

  9. Agnita Manoharan
    October 19, 2016 / 8:27 am

    I really loved this post!! I often get mistaken as an extrovert as well because I try my hardest to be social and then come home completely drained. So good to know its not just me!! I really appreciate all the tips, especially “rest up” and “know you’re not alone.” Usually I come back from a weekend full of being social and need a day or two to myself to recharge 🙂

    Thanks Molly!!

  10. October 19, 2016 / 10:59 am

    Such great tips babe! I’ll be sure to implement some of it soon! Ever since I started blogging, it has helped me get myself out there and become a little bit more outgoing!
    -Y

  11. Heather Gullett Denniston
    October 19, 2016 / 11:48 am

    You need to wear that dress….like every damn day. It’s glorious on you!

  12. October 19, 2016 / 3:01 pm

    I love the compliment route! I usually go with hair because my hair is pretty wild and that generally makes me stick out, so it works. Baby-steps is totally key, great tips!

  13. Greta Hollar
    October 19, 2016 / 6:05 pm

    Girl I’m the exact same way! After a social event I need time to recharge and have some alone time before I can be social again. Great tips!

    Greta | http://www.gretahollar.com

  14. October 19, 2016 / 6:14 pm

    These are such great tips! I’m heading to a work conference in a few weeks and need to keep these in mind.

  15. October 20, 2016 / 3:48 am

    I love this gorgeous blue dress on you and I’m so much the same as you! I am totally introverted and get totally stressed out at the thought of attending any social networking event. I’m actually not too bad if I go with someone, but going on my own is terrifying (so much so that I will often find an excuse not to go!) Thank you so much for sharing these tips – maybe they will hall to push me out of my comfort zone!
    Julia x
    http://www.thevelvetrunway.com

  16. October 20, 2016 / 7:18 am

    PERFECT post girlfriend. Having someone by your side can be the biggest relief…it’s like your own professional wingwoman! Definitely sharing this – so helpful.

    Coming Up Roses

  17. October 20, 2016 / 4:48 pm

    This is a great post that I’m sure so many can relate to! From being around you at events, I had no idea you were an introvert!! That dress is so stunning on you and I hope to see you soon girl!!!

    Sarah
    http://www.theblondegiraffe.com

  18. Atsuna Matsui
    October 20, 2016 / 9:01 pm

    This was such a great read as I’m an introvert who’s trying to network as well. I’ll definitely have these tips in mind next time I attend my blogger event since I’m pretty shy. Thanks girl!

    xoxo
    http://www.atsunamatsui.com

  19. November 28, 2016 / 5:56 pm

    So refreshing to hear this! There are days I feel extroverted and days I feel introverted, and once I’m at an event they always turn out fun but it’s important to de-stress leading up to events for sure!

    Chelsea
    Chow Down USA
    Instagram

  20. Petrica Manole
    October 12, 2017 / 9:44 am

    Lovely woman and nice look…

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