Author Topic: Industry-related clubs/meetups, networking and introverts  (Read 3029 times)


  • Magnum Stache
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Industry-related clubs/meetups, networking and introverts
« on: March 26, 2015, 09:07:36 PM »
So I just attended a local meetup for an industry that I'm interested in (infosec) and for some reason felt extra introverted and avoiding socializing and meeting others (partly also due to intimidation of others who are 'giants' in the industry). Do any of you struggle with this? I know networking is good for us as professionals, and that these kinds of meetups and clubs are great, but usually it seems it's for the people who are *most* interested in their profession or industry they work in. That's great - we certainly need the people who are passionate about stuff like that. But for me, nahhhh... I just wanted to listen to the talk, and get home ASAP rather than hang around and talk to people. *sigh*


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Re: Industry-related clubs/meetups, networking and introverts
« Reply #1 on: March 26, 2015, 09:48:48 PM »
I sure do know how it feels to be in that boat! Introverted software developer here, and the first several times I went to such an event I didn't talk to anyone. The talks are usually cool, but I have found that you can meet some pretty cool people, and you'd be surprised who you'll run into over and over again in those circles, so I always felt like I'd missed out on an opportunity afterwards.

An approach that has worked somewhat for me is that when I go to such an event I make it a goal to meet some number of people (started small, like 5 people), get to know a little bit about them, and get a business card if they carry one (Mostly just to keep myself honest at the end of the day, plus makes it easier to get in touch with them later!). Most of the time I found that by the time I'd talked to a few people, I was past most of the resistance and could continue talking to other people.

Obviously, everyone's different and that might not work for you. For me, just showing up is still the hardest part. I have a real hell of a time getting myself out the door and to events like this, and generally have to fight my way through being a nervous wreck leading up to it.


  • Senior Mustachian
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Re: Industry-related clubs/meetups, networking and introverts
« Reply #2 on: March 26, 2015, 11:38:28 PM »
When I became a network systems programmer I went along to the next user group meeting - held at quite a large auditorium in the city where I worked. The place held about 800 people, and there would have been about 500 when I arrived, slightly late. Or rather, perhaps I should say that there were about 500 MEN there when I arrived. Quite a number of them came up to me and asked me who I was after - I was obviously a secretary looking for someone. No woman could possibly be a network systems programmer at that point in time.

I had always been one of only a few women doing the types of computing I did, but to be the only one was very confronting. And just showing up to the user group meetings was rather difficult for the first few.


  • Magnum Stache
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Re: Industry-related clubs/meetups, networking and introverts
« Reply #3 on: March 26, 2015, 11:54:46 PM »
I think most introverts have issues at these types of events. Social situations like these are the worst - a few things I have learned along the way that helps.

1. Know as much about the situation as possible going in - layout of the space, what is too be expected (be aware for anything that they are calling "fun or interactive entertainment") rough timeline if anything is scheduled and dress code. This can majorly cut down on the anxiety.

2. Have an exit strategy - and an excuse prepared such as you have an early morning, could only get the babysitter for so long etc. and tell yourself you only have to stay for a bit. Just knowing you don't have to stay the WHOLE night makes it seem easier to leave the house.

3. Practice power posing before you go and make sure you maintain confident body language. I find it helps to have a drink or something in my hand to keep from making self soothing gestures and slipping into low confidence body language. Holding some business cards or something similar, if appropriate would help too.

4. Positioning yourself is key. I have found the best place to stand is just outside the bar area where people exit with their drink in hand. That seems when people are most ready to chat. When they are in line to get food they want food, after they get their food their hands are full and they just want to eat. When they head towards the bathroom they want to use the bathroom - which isn't when you want to get into conversation, although that would put a time limit on it :)


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Re: Industry-related clubs/meetups, networking and introverts
« Reply #4 on: March 27, 2015, 02:59:09 AM »
I don't really know what it's like to be an introvert, though at times I have felt awkward and resentful in such situations. I have found it helped me to detach myself from the desired outcomes, be it to make contacts, get business cards, or even sound intelligent. I just decided to hang out and reminded myself that I didn't know any of these people and didn't care. It allowed me to have fun chats with nice people, and eventually I learned a thing or two and found the events useful in the end.


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