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Mastering Networking: Essential Tips for Introverted Treasury Professionals

Recently, I had the honour of hosting an AFP LIVE Webinar and shortly afterwards, I spoke at the Windy City Summit in Chicago. During the Q&A session that followed both sessions, I was asked some thought-provoking questions about;

  • my experiences as a recruiter working with introverts as I was asked, “What are some of the day-to-day challenges that introverts face, and how have you helped them overcome these in your role?”

I was also asked during the Webinar;

  • do you have tips on how to overcome social anxiety when networking?
  • what is the easiest way for an introvert to network with others?
  • “As an introvert, what works for me is being curious and looking to learn about others, topics, issues, processes. My curiosity helps me reach out. Mike, what other suggestions do you have that you think can help me?”

Firstly, I commended my audience member in Chicago for asking his question, by doing exactly what he had done, by asking a question, that was a great first step.

Then I talked about “How else do we help introverts get out of their comfort zone?”

I explained that “At conferences like this, the first thing to do is have 5 to 10 facts about yourself, your job, your company, pre-prepared. So, when someone’s asking you, you are ready.

You’ve practiced your facts about yourself and your company, you know exactly what you’re doing, that instantly gives you confidence. You’re prepared and confident in your response. Having these facts pre-rehearsed can make a significant difference to an introvert’s networking experience.

I also described that I think there needs to be greater recognition of the specific needs of introverts in the professional world.

In the rest of this blog, I answer the other questions asked by our Webinar audience including;

  • Tips to combat social anxiety while networking
  • Effective strategies for introverts to network with others.
  • Utilizing curiosity as a means to reach out to others.

My first answer to all three questions & my audience question, was ‘one-to-ones’.

Practice being with somebody else, with a friend maybe. Rehearse with them, listen to them and their answers and have a conversation. These are very basic practices that’s going to get you more than comfortable talking one to two and one to three and then one to a group over time.

One secret you may not know that I can share is that; “I don’t enjoy public speaking”

I said this a number of years ago at Chicago, at the Windy City Summit. I don’t enjoy it and that often totally surprises people, they say, “But you are really good at it?”.

I explain Yes, it’s a practiced skill! I didn’t get up this morning and go, I want to go onto a stage in front of 150 people. I’m not built like that.

The fact is, I knew many years ago that if I was going to grow our business throughout the USA & Europe that’s what I had to do. I had to get out my comfort zone and out of my own way if you like.

I wouldn’t say I’m an introvert but I’m not an extrovert 100% of the time. I am hopefully a balance, people fluctuate between the two, me included, don’t underestimate that.

When I spoke in Chicago as soon as a session finishes the audience immediately go outside and got straight onto their devices.

I politely asked them to give it 5 minutes, I finished my session by asking those in the room to introduce themselves to at least one other person, sitting around them.

By setting that one goal to meet someone else, one other person, make one connection, the end of the session was on fire! And then I asked them to try to set themselves one small, achievable goal, and that might be to speak to four new people that day and then the same the next throughout the two days, they would walk away with 10 new connections!

Another effective strategy was at the next coffee break, have a soft drink. Take a moment and don’t build it up into this big thing.

Introduce yourself to another delegate with your simple elevator pitch, who you are, what you do and what you’re aiming to get out of the conference.

THEN ASK THEM the same! Who are they and what are they hoping to get out of the conference.

BOOM! Straight into a discussion.

Then when you hear somebody else, asking a question at one of the sessions – afterwards speak to them and you might say, “That was a good question. Do you suffer from that yourself?”

Other ways – smaller networks, one-to-one conversations, and then build them up. It’s about the quality of conversations rather than quantity.

You don’t need to go there and say, oh my goodness, I met 30 people. No, if you can make two maybe three meaningful connections, that is far more powerful.

It’s quality over quantity.

Use things like digital platforms like LinkedIn to connect and engage with others.


If you can see that you’re going to be at the same conference as someone, or you see them on the app, you could say, “oh, it’d be great to meet you there, I’m going to be around seeing these sessions. Are you coming to some of the same sessions?”

If you are an introvert, that’s going to make it a lot easier then with your curiosity people are going to want to get to know you as well. So that’s definitely going to help by focusing on the interest and experience of others.

You’re going to build that rapport, engaging in meaningful conversations. So good luck with building your network that way.