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The Introvert Entrepreneur’s Holiday Events Survival Guide

13 December, 2017

We may be deep into the holiday season festivities but there are still plenty of opportunities (or obligations, depending on your mood) to mingle over a cocktail or two. Introverts aren’t always shy but they are reluctant to attend the crowded noisy events that run on repeat this time of year.

So, if you’re an introvert, ambivert or simply want to get the most out of the holiday networking opportunities, here’s how to ensure it’s more of a pleasure than a pain.

Last week I had four such events. That’s A LOT for an introvert like me. I survived, but only because I had these secrets up my sleeve.


1. Get There Early

Who cares if you’re not fashionably late. Which would you prefer? Arriving to see one or two people you could approach? Or arriving to a sea of people already in established conversations and groups?

I attended an event last week hosted by one of my clients. It was out of town and I didn’t recognize a single person. But I got there early and found it much easier to talk to new people as they arrived.


2. Be Comfortable

Forget the towering new heels and keep it classy and comfortable. This may be an age thing so if you’re up for the ‘no pain no gain’ then go for it. I think we exude confidence when we are ourselves. And that comes from feeling comfortable in your own skin. Not pulling and poking at hemlines and tilting over in heels.

But that doesn’t mean you don’t make an effort. Compromise and you’re half way out the door.


3. Keep Busy

There are plenty of ways you can be helpful to your host and offer to lend a hand. Unless of course, you really would rather not. It can be something as simple as helping distribute merchandise or goody bags, guiding guests to seats if it’s a seated event and even offering to help out with food and drinks.

I personally love to help with food and drinks, it makes me feel right at home. It’s also a great ice-breaker. You get to circulate around the room (and graciously move on from those ‘get me out of here’ conversations).


4. Stay Curious

This is hands down my favourite tip. We all love to talk about what’s going on in our lives, right?

Well the best way to nudge this along with your fellow guest is be a kid again and ask lots of questions. Use simple conversation starters like ‘what are your plans for the holidays?’ followed by something like ‘so how many of the family will be over?’ or another question that enquires deeper into the previous answer.

Of course I love asking questions because it requires active listening, a key skill I use as a coach. But you also get to listen. And for introverts that’s a breather. Just don’t get all deep and intense. Yet. Smile. And have fun!


5. Take a Breather

Really? As in leave the room? Yes. Stepping out of the room for a couple of minutes is totally okay. Unless of course you’ve been hiding out in the loo the whole time or had your head in your phone. If you’ve been making the effort then you deserve a few moments to reset. If you need to.

Step outside the room or go out and get some fresh air if you can. And who knows, you’ll probably bump into someone you know on the way.


6. Prepare Your Exit

And no I don’t mean glancing over at the door ten minutes after you arrive. But do know when you intend to leave and how you are going to navigate that when the time comes. Peer pressure is often the reason we stay for ‘just one more.’

One of the four events I went to last week took place in a thriving (okay throbbing – think overcrowded, loud music) nightspot in town. It kicked off at 6pm. I had to pace myself for another event the following morning so I planned in advance a time I would leave, arranged my ride home and I stuck to it.


7. Have a Social Quota

You’ve been flexing that No muscle in work and life this year, hopefully. The same applies for the silly season. It’s likely you can’t make all the events you would like to attend, or feel you ought to. So now it’s time to pick.

Pick the events you would like to attend and politely decline the rest. A simple ‘thank you for thinking of me but unfortunately I can’t make it’ will suffice.


8. Bookend With Quiet Time

Just as an extrovert thrives in crowds and people, an introvert recharges on quiet alone time. There’s nothing better after a busy social calendar knowing that you have scheduled in some well-deserved, uninterrupted quiet time. Get your energy levels back up by relaxing, however you choose.

Filling up your tank with you-time before the event is also a great way to prepare. When your batteries are charged pre event, the post event is much more manageable.


Tuck these strategies up your sleeve and you’ll be ho ho hoing all the way through the holiday season. And well into the New Year too!

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