It’s unbeknown to us exactly how many introverts there are in the world. It was once believed that around a quarter of the world’s population was introverted, though more recent studies suggest this figure may be closer to half. Introverts are those who get their energy from within, enjoying time alone away from others.

Conferences and events provide excellent business possibilities and networking opportunities. Whilst extroverts would naturally flourish and thrive in these situations, socialising and mingling with others with ease, introverts can find them particularly daunting and somewhat exhausting by the day’s end. Here are some useful tips that may help introverts to relax and enjoy their next conference or networking opportunity…

Have conversation-starting points and questions ready

Networking can be tricky if you struggle to think of things to say in a conversation naturally. To avoid the awkward silences and help to diminish the dread of striking up conversations with strangers, try coming up with a few conversation starting points to help keep the chat flowing. Make eye contact and speak up; though you might not feel confident and at ease, acting like you are may help you to relax.

Set yourself challenges

This works particularly well if you are a competitive person. Set yourself goals and challenges for the day that urge you to socialise and network with others. Tell yourself, “I’m not allowed to go home until I have spoken to at least 5 new and unique people.” Get competitive with yourself and push yourself each time, and your self-confidence will continue to build and build.

Ignore your inner critic

Despite what your head may be telling you, always tell yourself that you are not the shy person in the room. Remember the mantra; nobody belongs here more than me. You have stepped out of your comfort zone to attend the conference; you deserve to take part in discussions just as much as those around you. You are a great listener, and don’t forget to use this to your advantage. Introverts pay close attention to detail and have a great attention span, meaning they can take a lot away from these types of events,

If you need a break, take it

Ignore the misconception that having some alone time is rude; sometimes it is very necessary. If you feel like you need a short break away from the crowd during networking or seminars, don’t be afraid to take it and enjoy it. It will help to return you to your happy place and you’ll be able to get out much more from the rest of the day in the long run.