If you’re planning to attend conferences to network, but you have some discomfort about socializing and putting yourself out there, developing a system for yourself can help.
Perfecting your system is going to take time. The first conference you attend is probably going to be a little bit awkward. But going to events consistently helps.
For your system, give yourself clear goals. Go in with the goal of introducing yourself to five people. Come up with a list of questions you can ask each person. (How’s it going? What do you do? How long have you been doing that?) Sticking to a list can help keep you on track.
People generally love to talk about themselves. Don’t try to sell yourself right away. Just form connections.
If they are engaging with you and start asking you questions in return, that’s the chance to start talking about yourself.
If your interactions seem awkward, don’t worry. Each one offers a chance to learn and grow. After you repeat this process several times and expand your network, it will start to feel more natural.