I am reading "Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking" by Susan Cain right now and as I turn each page I find more of myself and more explanations for why I do what I do and feel what I feel. Things are becoming really clear to me and I have started to notice that some of the things I do thinking it is annoying I have to do them are actually really powerful tools that all introverts could use. I have also noticed things that I do which in the past have made me feel bad or like there was something wrong with me, that are perfectly normal for introverts. I am learning how to use my introversion to it's full potential instead of shaming myself for not fitting the Extrovert Ideal.
An Introvert’s Guide to Networking
One of the biggest things that I think a lot of Introverts struggle with is the idea of networking. Whether it is attending an event for the soul purpose of networking or just going to an event with a lot of people you don't know (such as your boyfriends company retreat, which is what I had this last weekend). There is no denying that networking is very important in the world we live, but sometimes the idea of it can feel overwhelming or scary to someone who prefers to spend their Friday nights curled up with a good book instead of out at a loud club. Let me be clear really quick, being an introvert does not mean someone does not enjoy being around other people, it simply means they get overwhelmed with the sensory overload that is a big event much quicker than an extrovert will. Characteristically introverts take in a lot more information at any given time, they notice every detail and noise and person in a place, so their bucket of how much they can handle seems to fill up a lot quicker than their extroverted counterparts.
After reading Quiet and articles like this one on Networking for Introverts, and experiencing a lot of these things myself I have put together a list of some things I have learned to do, that work for me, and some that I am still learning to do all of which help to ease the anxiety that can be associated with networking events when you are a more Introverted person.
With all of these things in mind I feel like I can get the most out of a networking event without feeling completely uncomfortable. What other things do you do to help ease the anxiety that can come along with networking events?