4 Tips to Networking As An Introvert - The Leading Ladies Africa Conference

21.9.22 6C77H2FH+M2

I've never understood the concept of networking - not because I don't know the value, but because I'm an introvert and could never just muster the courage to put myself out there (I'm changing for the better in that regard now though). 

Networking means I have to dress up, go out, meet people, smile even when I don't feel like, and risk being snubbed by someone, have my energy drained and have people bumping against me when I would rather just curl up at home with my laptop or my phone and keep writing or reviewing more beauty products. 

But in my role and capacity as Online Editor for TW Magazine, alongside having a thriving small business which relies on referrals and word of mouth, I ABSOLUTELY need to go out and network. 

I think I found a way to go around it so it doesn't feel too overwhelming and I tried these tips I'm sharing here at the Leading Ladies Africa 2022 Conference which I attended earlier this year in April actually. Here goes:

Know That It May Not Be As Gong-Ho As It Is Touted to Be

People always talk a lot about how helpful networking is for career growth, business success and how you can even start a genuine relationship from a connection you make. But when you know and expect that this may not necessarily be how it works out for you. This way, you preserve your energy and still get something good out of the experience.

Have Your Elevator Pitch Ready

The standard at networking events is to always put what you do forward. As an introvert and a multihyphenate, the likelihood of selecting a single thing to introduce myself as on the spot can be hard which will lead to being tongue-tied, embarrassed, losing an opportunity and later feeling down & angry with myself. Avoid all that and plan ahead what it is you will say when someone approaches you to ask what you do. 

Be Prepared to Listen

This is supposed to come naturally to introverts but in situations where you are trying to push yourself forward, the likelihood of mindlessly interrupting conversations with dry jokes & unrelated stories or exuding a lack-lustre which makes people know you would rather not be there is rather high. Make it easy on yourself and others by channeling all your energies towards specifics - introduction and response. Every other thing, you can just listen to and smile.

Have a Plan

This isn't necessarily the same an itinerary that Introverts draw up for events, this is more like an action plan as it is filled with things you will actually do, action steps you will execute. 

Using the Leading Ladies Africa Conference as an example, as part of my plan which was aimed at learning, reconnecting, connecting and exhibiting courage, I was going to 
  • reconnect with Bola Balogun, Ijeoma Balogun & Nnenna Onyewuchi (under reconnecting)
  • find common ground with Cherry Eromosele whom I have admired from afar for a very long time. This common ground would be the foundation for forming a connection (connecting)
  • start every new conversation with my name and a one-line introduction of who I am & what I do, followed by my signature firm handshake (connecting & exhibiting courage)
  • pay attention to ALL that is being said as I was out to grow in my career & personal endeavours (learning)

There were live panel sessions at the session and in true @barbara1923 fashion, I tweeted some of the nuggets I got from them. See some of them below 




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