Being comfortable with networking takes time especially if this is something you typically avoid. It comes easier with practice! Here are some low-risk ways to start breaking out of your introvert shell and begin to network.
Coffee Dates: Grab a cup of coffee, get to know someone, and learn a thing or two. A one-on-one meeting can make networking easy and less intimidating than a big group. Consider reaching out to someone you loosely know or recognize already. An hour of coffee and chat is very low-key and a great way to practice getting to know others in the industry.
Informational Interviews: An informational interview should be for approaching a working professional who maybe you don’t know very well. It may be too casual to just grab a cup of coffee at the local coffee shop but you want to get to know and network with this individual. Always write a thank-you note if they take time out of their own busy workday to talk to you.
Pre-Set Up Networking Opportunities: Local organizations will sometimes put on small networking events or monthly group gatherings. The more relaxed and informal the better these are for the introverted networker. Groups in public spaces keep things safe and low risk.
Meet-Ups: There are Meet-Ups around town for just about any subject, topic, hobby, or group. You can engage or sit back and observe in meetups based on the size. They are low risk to attend and can be found all over town including coffee shops, breweries, theaters, public spaces, and more.
Other Ways to Feel like an Empowered Introvert:
Set Goals: Sometimes setting a goal at an event will help you break out of your shell. Consider having a goal of how many business cards or connections you want t make at a conference, workshop, or other events.
Do Your Homework: Utilize Linked In or Google to research the professional you are meeting with or to re
Keep things safe and familiar: if you are meeting someone new or going to a new location, tell someone else where you are going, how long you will be away, and try to stay somewhere public. If you are doing a studio visit this may be difficult but always look out for your best interest and keep your safety in mind.