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Networking is a crucial aspect to growing in the business world. Whether you are a small business owner or someone trying to climb the ladder individually, having the right connections can mean all the difference.

But what do you do if you are not exactly outgoing or a “people” person? Thankfully, there is a guide that can help introverts network effectively, too.

Preparation Is Key

Take a few minutes before the next social event to think about what your purpose for this event is. What are you hoping to learn from the others attending the event? Start by having a few of the most important questions ready.

Ask people how they got started or what they are passionate about. Being put on the spot can make some people nervous, so preparation can help balance out the nerves and get you the answers that you are looking for.

Have a Conference Buddy

Going alone may be too big of a proposition for some. That is why having a conference buddy along can make those events less intimidating. Having someone with you to talk to can make a world of difference to those who aren’t comfortable mingling alone.

Having someone to sit with during the breaks, to talk to at intervals between meeting connections, and to bounce ideas off of can be invaluable. Moreover, it will probably make the entire experience that much more fun.

Be Present

When you are nervous about events like this, it can be difficult to actually listen to and engage in what the other person is saying. You tend to focus on trying to relax and pushing the nerves away and end up missing the entire message.

Try to shift that focus onto the person you are talking to. Practice your listening skills. Ask a lot of questions. It will take some time before you feel comfortable in these settings but being at these events means gleaning important information. If you can’t focus on what they are saying, you miss the most important part.