Networking for Social Moths
If you’re not quite a social butterfly, you might be a social moth instead. The business world expects entrepreneurs and working professionals to exude confidence and charisma. Being anxious, shy, and introverted is too often looked down upon. However, we can actually leverage anxiety, shyness, and introversion to create meaningful, affirming connections.
Shyness Is a Superpower
We’re not here to tell you to be less shy. You don’t need to become a social butterfly or relish being the center of attention. In other words, use introversion to your advantage.
With anxiety, shyness, and introversion comes a knack for introspection, an eye for details, and unparalleled observation skills.
Use your keen observation skills to scope out other introverts while attending a conference or event. Look for other wallflowers. In turn, you might bring relief to someone just as reticent as yourself!
Start With a Compliment
Okay, I’ve scoped out someone to approach… now what?
If you’re unsure how to begin a conversation, go for something simple: open with a genuine compliment.
- “Those shoes are cute.”
- “Your presentation was so interesting; thanks for sharing!”
Opening with a compliment demonstrates your interest in chatting and offers the other person something to respond to.
Hate talking about yourself? Get the other person talking.
Direct attention away from yourself by asking meaningful and open-ended questions.
- “What kind of business does your company do?”
- “Which presentation has been your favorite so far?”
- “Do you have any recommendations for booths I should visit?”
You can even open with a question following your compliment:
- “Those shoes are cute. Where did you find them?”
- “Your presentation was so interesting! Where did you come up with the idea?”
Listen to their answers and ask additional questions based on their responses. If they ask you a question, answer it, but you can always redirect the conversation by asking the question back at them or asking something new.
Fake It ‘Til You Make It
Yes, it’s a cliché, but fake it and forge ahead when in doubt. For those unfortunate times when we have to lead a pitch, attend an event, or speak in front of a crowd, “fake it ‘til you make it” is the best course of action.
What would someone else in your position do? Put those observation skills to work and pretend you’re playing the part of a social butterfly. You might even find that your feigned confidence turns into real confidence.
At the end of the day, embrace your status as a social moth. Anxiety, shyness, and introversion are all tools that we can leverage. However, it is beneficial to have tools to whip out when we must leave our cozy cocoons.
Quick Tips to Demonstrate Confidence:
- Eye contact: Assure the other party that you are listening and interested in what they are saying.
- Good posture: Avoid the urge to shrink into yourself and hide. Plus, your spine will thank you.
- Firm handshake: Now that handshakes are coming back, remember to give a firm, confident grip. No one likes a limp handshake.
- Remember to smile: Smiling is a surefire way to make you more relatable and approachable.
We hope you enjoyed our tips for navigating networking as a social moth. For more professional tips and tricks, visit the rest of our blog. Click here
Photo by Carol Petri on Unsplash