9 Lessons from a Closet Introvert: Networking Events Edition

businesswoman at a networking conferenceI think it would surprise a lot of people in my life that I actually tend to be more introverted. Yes, the Myers Briggs has deemed it so. At first I was surprised, but then I realized the truth in this assessment.

What I’m saying today is that just because you’re an entrepreneur or business woman, it doesn’t mean you have to cram yourself into some sort of extrovert mold.

Maybe you can relate:

-It took all the courage I had to raise my hand in class growing up.
-I see a crowded cocktail reception and think, “Golly, how am I going to navigate that?!”
-Large and/or networking events take a lot out me. I legit feel like I’ve been run over by a bus for the next day or so, hoping it’s just exhaustion and not a harbinger of some nasty flu to come.
-I have a good friend from high school and college, and I always hoped I could be more extroverted and fearless like her, but was always daunted and left exhausted by the idea of it.

Last week, I had the privilege to attend the WE Festival, a networking event put on by ITP at NYU. This was a gathering of women entrepreneurs from around the country, and I met some amazing people doing incredible things. While I was there, I took lots of notes and spent some time reflecting on my experience, given my newly uncovered introvert status. And I’m sharing those notes here because in case my learning can help fuel your growth, I want it all out there!

-Figure out a way to make the event a ‘safe learning space’ for you. I walked into the event last week and froze. How was I going to talk to ANYONE, much less 300 people?! I decided to figure out ways to make the event a safe haven of sorts. What did this mean? A few things for me:

1. I got lost finding the area with another woman and we did our own networking right there while finding our way.

2. Approach other people standing alone. There are bound to be some!

3. Ask myself, “What’s the worst that can happen?” We were all there to learn and meet each other- no one is going to turn on their heels and walk away from you, Jill!

4. If you don’t know anyone else there, make an event buddy with whom you have common interests. A bunch of us did that and when we were drained at the end of Day 2, we met up and hung out.

5. Just go and talk to people. They are friendlier and more interested in what you are doing than you might think.

6. It’s an interesting opportunity to go to events and places where your area is on the periphery. Many of these women were very tech focused, but it didn’t matter. There were synergies and potential partnerships everywhere you looked. In other words step out of your normal sphere of influence and try something new.

7. Use every opportunity possible to refine your elevator speech and try different angles on it. If one feels like it landed with a dud, you can can it and try something else next time.

8. You really never ever know when the next opportunity will come from. Maintain an open frame of mind.

9. If you’re not really all that sure you understand what a person does, ask questions and be curious. Sometimes as a closet introvert, I have the tendency to be all, “Oh god, I don’t understand what they’re saying about their Java Script and coding challenges! What do I say next?!” You don’t need to understand all of the inner machinations of their product to gain an understanding of where they’re at. Non technical questions could be, “What brought you to this event?”, “What will make this a successful event for you?” or “Tell me about your background or passion that led you to begin working on X project.” If you go into the cocktail conversation with an open mind, chances are you’ll get some good questions asked of you, too. Which is where the real learning and personal growth happen.

So like I said- and I mean this wholeheartedly- let go of any preconceived notion that you need to be this rip roaring extrovert to start a business, grow a business or rock whatever career you’re in now. This is a major fallacy and one I hope I can begin to debunk with my experiences. Bottom line: Go out and rock it- your way.

Share small business news, blogs and social media tips with Project Eve’s community of small business owners and entrepreneurs today. Our contributors come from a wide range of backgrounds; so whether you are a small business owner, social media strategist, financial adviser, serial entrepreneur, or write an amateur blog we urge you to contribute a blog to our 500,000+ community today. For more information, please refer to our Content Submissions Guidelines.

Add a Blog


  1. 524030 732052Get started with wales ahead almost every planking. Ones wales truly are a compilation of huge planks one certain depth advisors surely will be the identical towards the entire hull planking nevertheless with even larger density to successfully thrust outward beyond the planking. planking 378309

  2. Hi there, You have done an excellent job. I’ll definitely digg it and personally suggest to
    my friends. I’m confident they’ll be benefited from this web site.

  3. 323384 898111Attractive part of content material. I just stumbled upon your internet site and in accession capital to claim that I acquire in fact enjoyed account your blog posts. Any way Ill be subscribing to your feeds and even I achievement you get entry to constantly rapidly. 274042

  4. 323198 839754After study some of the weblog posts within your website now, and i genuinely such as your technique for blogging. I bookmarked it to my bookmark site list and are checking back soon. Pls look into my internet web site likewise and make me aware what you consider. 525695

  5. 840349 274457 Youre so cool! I dont suppose Ive read anything like this before. So good to uncover somebody with some original thoughts on this topic. realy thank you for starting this up. this web site is something that is needed on the web, someone with slightly originality. helpful job for bringing something new towards the internet! 321449

  6. When I originally commented I clicked the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and now each time a comment is added I get four emails with the same comment. Is there any way you can remove me from that service? Thanks!

  7. 685271 864772It is perfect time to make some plans for the future and its time to be pleased. Ive read this post and if I could I wish to suggest you some fascinating things or suggestions. Maybe you can write next articles referring to this article. I want to read even more points about it! 651054

  8. 248859 370634The vacation special deals offered are believed as a selection of possibly the most preferred and therefore within your budget all more than the globe. Quite quite a few hostels can be proudly located inside property which is accented who has striking seashores encouraging crystal-clear rivers, contingency of an Ocean. hotels compare rates 837322

  9. 505641 853460Wow, incredible weblog layout! How long have you been blogging for? you make blogging appear simple. The overall look of your site is wonderful, as nicely as the content material! xrumer 33446

  10. 626135 251610Im so happy to read this. This is the type of manual that needs to be given and not the accidental misinformation thats at the other blogs. Appreciate your sharing this greatest doc. 946256

  11. 733585 550067Amazing beat ! I wish to apprentice whilst you amend your internet site, how could i subscribe for a weblog web site? The account aided me a acceptable deal. I had been slightly bit acquainted of this your broadcast provided bright clear thought 164432

  12. 8618 388359Hiya! awesome blog! I happen to be a every day visitor to your site (somewhat a lot more like addict ) of this web site. Just wanted to say I appreciate your blogs and am searching forward for far more to come! 559371

  13. 16371 82016I discovered your blog web site internet internet site on the internet and appearance some of your early posts. Continue to maintain inside the wonderful operate. I just now additional increase your Rss to my MSN News Reader. Seeking toward reading far much more from you obtaining out at a later date! 373796

  14. 890039 92272You may find effective specific development of any L . a . Weight loss program and each and every you are very essential. To begin with level is an natural misplacing during the too considerably weight. lose belly fat 245119


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here