How to network when you’re an introvert

As an introvert the word networking can be rather anxiety inducing. A room of people you don’t know, expectations to look and sound successful with a well polished, slick 60 second elevator pitch on exactly what your business does. Maybe it’s even held in a corporate board room to a strict timetable. All of the above leaves this particular introvert diving back under the duvet and vowing to stick with online networking via social media! After setting up my own (introvert friendly) networking group, CWS Creatives, where you definitely won’t feel under pressure to talk in front of the whole group (phew) I’ve been honing my networking skills and gathering lots of tips and ways to get the most out of networking without feeling the need to take on a whole new extroverted, suit clad persona.

Top tips on networking when you’re an introvert

 

Prepare before you go

Find out about how the networking meeting is run, for example, is it a formal meeting, is it one where you need to have a 60 second pitch prepared, what kind of businesses will be there. I find that knowing more about what to expect helps me mentally prepare.

Go with a friend/colleague

Is there someone there that you already know? Can you pair up with someone and go along to the first event together? It’s always nice knowing there will be someone you can chat to at the start while you gain confidence.

Find a group that suits you

Different events are suited to different styles of business, for example, a business breakfast packed with accountants, solicitors and estate agents may not be the best fit if you run flower arranging workshops. You might want to find a group or meeting that has more complimentary businesses that can open up new clients and provide support.

Do a lot online!

Make those connections virtually before moving into ‘real life’. You can even find events where people you’ve networked with online go along to. Do try and get out from behind your computer though, it’s easy to hide and get out of the habit of meeting ‘in real life’ especially if you work alone.

Think about why you’re going to a meeting

Have some goals or ideas of what you’d like from the meeting before you go. An example of this would be, maybe you’re a online retailer that wants some professional product shots doing or you want some digital marketing help. Keep an eye or ear out for professionals that could help your business. Maybe you are looking for client referrals to build up your wellbeing coaching business, think about complimentary business that might have clients who would be a good fit for you too.

When you’re at an event or meeting remember to breathe

Ok, I’m exaggerating a little here, but you know what I mean. If you’re feeling anxious, take some deep breaths and talk yourself round. You won’t be the only one feeling nervous, why not look out for someone else that seems new or a little nervous, they are most likely desperate for someone to start up a conversation.

Introduce yourself to the person hosting the event

Ask if they can introduce you to someone in a specific area you’re looking for information about or a for a connection in.

Wear something that you feel confident and comfortable in

You want to feel confident when you walk through the doors into a new environment, be sure to wear something that helps with that. Dress for your day rather that the way you think you should. If you wear an outfit that’s new or more formal than you’d usually wear it might make you feel self conscious. On the other hand, a new outfit might bring a new confidence – again it comes down to wearing something that’s ‘you’.

Don’t forget your business cards!

There is no point spending time making valuable connections only to leave with people not being able to easily get in touch with you.

 

 

Most of all, for the sake of your whole well being don’t put yourself through terrible networking events because you feel you *have* to. If a particular style of meeting doesn’t suit you after a couple of trys then move on to another one. 

 

There we have it my top tips for networking as an introvert. 

Have you got any tips to add?

If you’d like to know more about what goes on at the CWS Creatives Meet Up (networking events) then have a read of this – What actually happens at a Coffee Work Sleep Creatives Meet Up?

 

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(photos taken by Liesa Jane Photography at a recent CWS Creatives Meet Up event)

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Self Care – Five Quick Pick Me Ups

I mentioned on my Instagram Stories last that I find this time of year, the tail end of Winter, to be a bit blah. January is such a busy month for our family, that along with the new start and plans for the year it feels like we hit the ground running and just don’t stop until the end of the month. I always joke that I’ll need to nap through February to compensate so I guess that’s all part and parcel of that really. Pondering over the ‘blahness’ of February in particular and chatting with some of you on Instagram has got me thinking about prioritising self care with a few quick pick me ups when we feel a bit down. Feeling this way isn’t exclusive to this time of year after all! I wish the answer could be a free holiday to some beautiful destination, I should be so lucky! Instead I wanted to share some little tips that don’t cost the earth. These ideas are very much biased towards the introvert, which I am, so if you’re an extrovert your ideas may look very different to this.

 

A good book and an early night

self care easy pick me ups

I’m someone that needs sleep, I wish I could say that I can survive on a few hours but everyone around me would fall about laughing. I am my worst self when I am tired (or hungry, or both!!). I have no tolerance or patience and turn into a right Negative Nelly. I now know that to give myself the best chance at being the best version of me I need to get an early night and not stay up scrolling Instagram Stories or watching just one more episode of whatever series I’m currently obsessed with. Reading a book rather than reaching for my phone is an ongoing battle. I think I need to plug my phone in somewhere else to take away any temptation to reach for it when I climb into bed or when I can’t sleep. 

 

Flowers

Now this may seem a little frivolous, but plants and flowers really brighten my mood. I honestly don’t know why but grabbing a £1 bunch of daffodils at the checkout to pop in a vase at home makes me smile. This time of year as we are teetering at the start of Spring is just my favourite for flowers. Like I said, you don’t have to go crazy and get a huge bouquet delivered – though if you want to and can afford it then by all means go for it!

 

A little treat

 

Whether it’s a new nail polish, a candle, a face mask or just a quiet coffee these are all little pick me ups that give me a sense of pampering without breaking the bank. A new book often does the trick for me, especially if it involves wandering around a book shop! You might stretch to getting your nails done, a new haircut or whatever, just check your budget and go from there.

 

Exercise 

Before you roll your eyes and keep scrolling, and I’m talking to myself here more than anything! Regular exercise really does help lift your mood. In whatever way that looks for you, a run, walking the dog, a yoga class or a workout dvd in your living room. There’s definitely something you can do that fits your ability and lifestyle. When I’m feeling down often the last thing I want to do is exercise. I’d much rather wallow and eat my feelings, I’ve learnt that this habit just doesn’t help me – funny that eh? And by learning to make healthier choices I’m improving my mood and my health. While I’ll never run a marathon, going out for a job a few times a week while listening to a podcast is enough for me.

 

RE-setting boundaries

Sometimes we have to learn to say no. I’ve found that this is especially hard for me at this stage of my life. I no longer have endless energy and free time, I have to be so aware of my time management skills. Like so many, my life is often dictated by my family commitments, as well as work. Doing too much and over committing can lead me to feeling overwhelmed, exhausted and irritable. I’ve worked on this area of my life so much that I’m conscious now of what I take on and what I say yes to. I cannot give my best self when I’m stretched thin. When I start to feel that foreboding sense of overwhelm set in I have to take a step back and review what I’m doing. What can be dropped for a while, can I do something in a more efficient way – or even am I being a martyr and not asking for help?! Talking this through with someone and making a list will usually give me perspective enough to reset my boundaries.

 

These are just a few of my ideas, and some my resonate with you while others won’t and that’s ok. My main aim when writing this was to encourage thought and discussion around the topic. Most importantly I think is to reflect on what healthier choices you can make for you when it comes to self care. It might be something like learning how to say ‘no’ to things and respecting your boundaries or maybe you first need to set yourself boundaries! Take a few minutes now to reflect on what you can do be better at self care.

 

When you’re going through a bit of a blah time, or feeling a bit down what are your quick pick me up tips?

 

If you enjoyed this post you might like this one – 5 Things I Do When I Feel Emotionally Drained

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5 things I do when I feel emotionally drained

I am naturally an introvert and can find spending a lot of time with people and socialising pretty draining. As much as I love a party or a long talk with friends there is only so much I can do before I feel the need to retreat. I find this can be the case when I’m feeling emotionally drained too. I love listening to people and helping friends work through problems but bizarrely I can find myself taking on their emotions or worries and carrying them with me afterward, I think this is just an aspect of my personality type. I know myself well enough now to recognise the signs that I need to take a step back and look after myself a little. This doesn’t just benefit me but tops me up again, so to speak, so that I can be me again, to be there for my children and my friends. If I don’t do anything and just keep going I am no fun to be around at all! I can be irritable, lack patience and definitely lack compassion, it’s like I shut down, this doesn’t make for a good friend, mum or general human being!

Here are some ways I’ve found that help me when I’m feeling emotionally drained.

 

   1. Have a hot bubbly bath

There is something so magical about easing yourself into a hot bubbly bath. Being a mum it can be hard to find any sacred space that’s just for me. I’ve learnt that hard way to wait until I’m one hundred percent certain that both my girls are asleep before even attempting to run a bath. I’ll never forget getting into an eagerly anticipated bath only to be joined in the bathroom by my very chatty six year old wanting to read to me while she sat on the loo. Not ideal. 

   2. Lock myself away with Netflix

Grabbing some time to just switch off and binge watch something is so relaxing to me, obviously it doesn’t need to be Netflix, any provider of binge watch fodder will do! To immerse myself in another story or world and taking that time to check out is so special. Even if it’s just a snatched thirty minutes while the girls are playing. I need to be careful with this though and make sure if I’m watching for a recharge then it shouldn’t be a series that’s particularly tense or with an emotional storyline, a fun comedy like Kimmy Schmidt or Odd Mom Out usually does the trick.

   3. Read a book

This is where an absorbing fiction book is just perfect. Curling up on my comfy chair in the living room and getting lost in another story gives me that time out I so often need. I usually reach for one of my comforting favourites when I’m feeling drained. There’s something so easy about dipping back into a well worn book and familiar characters. A new book can be more difficult to concentrate on when I’m feeling overwhelmed or down and I definitely would struggle to process a non-fiction read.

   4. Switch off

This is done at varying degrees, depending on need and of course circumstance. Taking that step back, whether it’s ignoring calls and turning off notifications, or just turning off your phone for a set amount of time. As I’ve got older I’ve learnt that setting boundaries is so important and ties in well with this. As terrible as it sounds sometimes we need to ignore that call if we’re not emotionally able to cope with it. Instead just send a little text saying you’ll call back and then speak to them when you’ve topped up a little. When I’m feeling drained I struggle to even engage on social media and places like Instagram make me feel down and inadequate rather than a place to share creativity and share in people’s lives. Sometimes I’ll take a social media break for a few days (and try not to worry about lack of engagement or losing followers!!) as I know that when I come back to it I’ll be refreshed and ready. 

   5. Have a time of prayer and mindfulness 

This may sound airy fairy but taking the time to centre myself when I’m overwhelmed is often the most necessary and important thing. This can be lying down and with calming music, listening to a thoughtful podcast, praying or just sitting in silence. I find that when I’ve given myself this kind of space I feel so much better for it, though often it can be the last thing I feel like doing! Looking after myself spiritually is just as important as taking care of physically needs, in fact it’s all connected really.

 

Can you relate?

What do you do when you’re feeling emotionally drained?

 

things emotionally drained

(featured image by Robyn Swain Photography)

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