Venture capitalist Hunter Walk is an introvert in an extroverted line of work. To get the most out of big events such as conferences and industry parties, he focuses less on broadening his connections, and more on deepening. He’s learned to change his goal from “meet everyone at the conference” to “have five or ten meaningful conversations”. Both are useful approaches, but the latter is better suited to his personality, as he explains in a Medium post.
Photo by Kris Krüg
Specifically, this means spending less time mingling aimlessly, and more time pulling people aside for one-on-one chats of 20 to 30 minutes. It also means taking breaks, challenging himself to stay 30 minutes past his first urge to bail, and letting himself skip events altogether.
One of Walk’s readers suggests the buddy system: Bring a guest to an event so it’s less intimidating to meet new people. (But don’t turn this into an excuse to hide away with that one friend and meet no one.)