“Gosh. I wish I never step out from home just now.”

I was at a networking dinner a few years ago and I felt extremely awkward. As a born introvert, I often felt uneased in a big crowd. To make thing worse as an introvert, all the socializing and conversations got me super drained up by the end of the day.

“I must really suck in this socializing thingy.” I sighed.

Or do I?

As time goes by, with more socializing events that I have to attend (willingly or unwillingly), I’ve discovered a set of social and networking hacks that any introverts can pick-up immediately.

As such, here are 5 simple social & networking hacks that I’ve been using over the years that have helped me established relationships and overcome my awkwardness with people:

(1) Before any social/networking event – Do a mental warm-up.

Introverts (myself included) have the tendency to be uncomfortable and awkward with crowd and people. Hence, it is important to be mentally prepared before we head out to socialize.

Of all, one mental warm-up that I would practice before any networking event/gathering is to visualize myself being confident when walking into any of these events.

Next, I will make a self-commitment to connect and establish X number of new relationships in the event. Setting this self-commitment will provide me the momentum needed to kickstart any conversation.

With time (and practice), you will find it easier and less intimidating to build new relationships with prior mental warm-up.

Remember, every successful relationship building starts before the networking event itself. It is all about preparation, preparation and preparation.

(2) Meeting new people – Never ever forget that firm handshake!

The firm handshake.

Such important detail in any relationship building, yet often taken lightly by people. If there is one thing that 2 strangers do before any spoken words, it is the handshake between them.

A firm handshake shares a lot about one’s level of confidence and trustworthiness – all before any exchange of spoken words!

No matter how uncomfortable or nervous you are, you can always fake a firm handshake. As an introvert, I often find it easier to fake my confidence with a firm handshake before any conversation with a stranger.

Not too light. Not too hard. Just a firm handshake to start an amazing conversation with any stranger.

(3) Starting a conversation – THE question that leads to limitless possibilities!

How are you?

“I’m fine, thank you. How are you doing?” I replied as I just got to meet this man called Jason in a networking event.

“Likewise.” Jason replied, and we got into an awkward situation instantly as no one knew how to continue the conversation.

The thing is, asking the right question at the start of any conversation will heavily influence the outcome of the conversation. Learning to ask specific questions over open-ended questions (eg. How are you doing?) and meaningless questions (eg. How’s the weather/traffic today?) will almost definitely prevent any awkwardness and conversation stutter.

Instead, try asking this next time at the start of any conversation:

“Anything interesting that you are working on right now?”

By asking this question, you trigger ones mind to look specifically for interesting projects/initiatives that they are working on, and share it with you (Instant conversation starter!).

We never know, the opportunity that you’ve been looking for all these while might be discovered just by asking this question.

(4) During a conversation – Listen attentively to the person you are talking to.

People love to share their personal stories. In other words, humans love to talk about themselves.

And people love it even more when there is someone that is willing to listen to them.

As an introvert, the skill of listening will prove extremely useful when it comes to socializing and networking. In fact, knowing how to listen is THE key to get what you want from any person you meet, not talking.

By listening attentively when a person shares their interesting work/projects with us, we effectively build trust with the person we are talking to. Little details while listening such as constant eye contact, reaffirming a statement to simple action like nodding your head while you are listening will make people feel comfortable talking to you.

Hence, never underestimate the power of listening!

(5) Ending a conversation – Always make it a habit to leave an impression.

By leaving an impression, what I am trying to say is to make people remember you after the conversation.

After listening to the interesting things that one does, always remember to share the one thing that you would like the person to remember you for. As an example, if I know Jason could use some information in investing, I would share about my investment articles on No Money Lah.

In addition, make it an effort to offer help such as “Let me know if you need any help in your projects”. While people might not need your favor right away, but they will appreciate your offer and remember you for this. Just make sure that you are truly genuine to help when you ask the question.

By the end of any conversation, be sure to stay in touch with the person by either exchanging name-cards or get connected in social media.

Dear introverts…

In life, as much as we feel uncomfortable and uneasy with big crowds and people, it is without a doubt that we will come across a time where we will need to be out there building relationships.

Hence, instead of avoiding them, my experience has taught me to embrace every social and networking opportunities that I would attend.

Again, the key to a fruitful conversation with people in any social events is to prepare, prepare and prepare! Even now, I still follow the 5 hacks above whenever I am attending any kind of social and networking events.

If this 5 social hacks could help introvert like myself to overcome my uneasiness with big crowds and people, I am confident that it will help you as well!

With this, I wish you a fruitful experience in all your future social and networking events!

Stay awesome!

Yi Xuan.

Leave a comment at the bottom of this post or write to me via the contact box below if you have any thoughts and feedback on this topic! I cannot wait to hear from you.


Chin Yi Xuan

At 24, Yi Xuan is an Economics graduate from University of Malaya. He is currently a full-time day trader while working part-time as a table tennis coach and an active Toastmasters club member.

As the founder of No Money Lah, Yi Xuan is passionate in writing about adulthood topics from personal happiness to money and investment.

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