Guide to hosting events as an introvert
“F*ck.” That was my first reaction when I saw the guest list for Savour365’s launch event. An event that’s literally happening in a few days. On that Excel sheet was a compendium of very, very important people from various industries in Singapore. You’ve got heads and CEOs from esteemed organisations such as the National Youth Council and more. Don’t get me wrong; I’m honoured that these people have taken time out of their busy schedules to attend our event. But it doesn’t change the fact that I’m a hardcore introvert. Talking with these guests for hours on end is gonna be anxiety-inducing and consume 99% of my social battery for the week. So how will I successfully host this event as an introvert?
To quote Liz Truss, “I’m a fighter, not a quitter.” And thankfully, this isn’t my first rodeo. As someone who’s attended multiple networking sessions, I’ve picked up a few tips to help make communicating easier. This doesn’t change the fact that I’m a nervous wreck inside. But at least these methods have helped me achieve the goals I’ve set out to do at an event, which really is the main objective here.
Treat everyone as equals
As introverts, it’s natural for us to see titles such as “Director” and “CEO” and immediately put them on a pedestal.
“They’ve got the higher rank, surely that means they’re better than me?”
Thing is, despite their rank, they’re still at the same event as you. There’s something they need at the event and chances are, you’re the one who can provide it. This can be something as simple as needing a talking buddy to destress after a hard day of work, or wanting to network around to break into a new industry. You could be the solution they need.
The way I finally started seeing everyone as equals was simply by asking myself “What value can I provide to you?” and “What value can you provide to me?”
By viewing the exchanges as transactional, I managed to mentally level the playing field and become more open to chatting with those of a higher rank than me.
Come in with a goal in mind
I know better than anyone that introverts have a time limit for socialising before our energy gets depleted. That’s why I realised the importance of setting goals and targets before attending any networking event.
“I’m here to ensure my company is invited to more events? Okay, I’ll chat with more PR people then.”
”I’m here to generate more leads? Okay, I’ll talk with at least one person from a different industry.”
By being tactical with my approach, I can conserve energy and frame the parameters of my conversations. Once, I was stuck in a 20-minute conversation with a manager from a tech firm. By not approaching the conversation with a goal in mind, I allowed him to ramble about his personal life and other things that were not relevant to networking. I still remember being absolutely drained at the end of the conversation, and this brings me to my final tip.
Set aside some time to destress
A common misconception introverts have about being in social settings is that we have to be on the ball 24/7. That’s simply not true. Experience has taught me to always sneak in pockets of time where I can be alone and just take a breather. For me, this means going to the bathroom, grabbing a snack at a secluded corner, or simply chatting with a close friend. Of course, as I’m doing all these, I’ll ensure that my guest is being attended to by a colleague.
And what do you do if you can’t be alone?
Well, you simply have fun with your guest! At my previous event, we had a dance floor and a DJ. To destress, I dragged a few of the (cool) networks I made and raved. I know it’s not the most introverted thing, but it definitely helped me calm my nerves.
How to enjoy networking events as an introvert
Whether you’re an introvert who’s hosting or attending a networking event, I hope these tips have helped you enter the right mindset. TLDR, fake it till you make it.
Hopefully, with these tips, I can host Savour365’s launch event with zero hiccups. If you’re looking for an avenue to put your newfound networking skills to the test, hang on tight as we’ll be hosting events every month moving forward! So be sure to look out for them!
Do you have stories of how you overcame your fear? Share it with us here!