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Networking for Introverts: Six Tips for Entrepreneurs

If you're an introvert (and talking to your plants counts as big part of your social life), networking may trigger scarcity and frustration for you. As a result, you tend to avoid events at all costs. Unfortunately, it's not the best behaviour if you want to progress in your career, let alone you're building your business as entrepreneur (especially if you're an expat and you don't have any existing network in the city yet!).

networking women conference entrepreneurs
Networking is not just about what you can get out of it, it's a lot more about how you can contribute

It was me a few years ago. I was completely unfamiliar and felt uncomfortable about small talks, initiating a conversation, talking to people who I don't know, or reading a room (if you are anything like I was (!), probably you don't even know what does this phrase mean, ie. gathering information on which individuals have the most to offer and which should be avoided).

“Networking is more about farming than it is about hunting. It’s about cultivating relationships.” – Ivan Misner

Women are traditionally less well-networked than men. Studies have shown that women’s professional networks are often less powerful and effective than men’s in terms of exchanged benefits. Women's networks are more social, with closer relationships, while men's are larger and more transactional, with looser ties. Even though historically this is how it was, you can change about that in your favor.

Here are six tips to get more skilled at networking, plus also enjoy it!

1. It all starts with commitment

Commit yourself to attend x number of events a week/month. I started with two a week and now am doing one per week, I find it sustainable on the long term. I've an event calendar in Notion where I collect interesting happenings.

2. Visit events that you actually like

Go to events that are of your interest or themes you are open to explore more about. Don't force yourself visiting a conference that you can't find any curiosity about. For example, I'd rather go to a mushroom foraging event than to a crypto conference and that's OK.

3. Be yourself (yes, it works for networking, too!)

Show up as yourself even if you might differ from the majority of the people in the room. I chose a coral suit outfit for Bits & Pretzels because this is my style. We winked with other women who had the same idea - even though we were not many! - and I felt great being authentic.

4. Do you feel nervous? Say it out loud!

Others may be just as nervous as you. You can even begin with stating what is: "I feel a bit nervous, how to start a convo. I wonder if I'm the only one who feels like that. What tips do you have to get started?"

5. Prepare for small-talk

Have a few questions or small-talk phrases handy in your mind. Observe the people around you, find something in common and connect through that. Comment on their outfit (ideally in a positive way), make a compliment, ask if they want to have a drink and go to the bar together, ask how did they get there (U-Bahn, on foot, car?) or simply inquiry about what brought them here? Make is as natural as possible. You're talking to another human like yourself!

6. Who is the most interesting person in the room?

Ask yourself: "Who is the most interesting person in the room?" "Who am I fele drawn to speak with?" "Whose energy do I find attractive?" Make them as your first chat partners!

I'm also curious what networking tips do you have?


Zsanett Czifrus is a Life, Business and Executive Coach, Consultant and Facilitator for Entrepreneurs, Expats and Leaders. She works with individuals and organizations to empower and support ambitious growth, create structure in complexity, navigate personal and professional transitions, find peace of mind, and live a joyful life.


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