How to network as an introvert: 5 reasons to attend York events

Written by Boris Licina

The number of comfort zones that I’ve stepped out of since studying at York has been enormous. Going to events is one of them. For introverts like me, it is always challenging because I am shy and not comfortable with new people, but it is a beautiful and necessary part of student life. Below are some reasons you should go to York events and tips on what to do based on my personal experiences.

You will get a chance to meet someone new

It can be intimidating to go to an event where you don’t know anyone, but the first step is to go to your first event. In my second year, I went to Queer Feminism and Comedy: A Serious Talk with Carolyn Taylor and one of my professors told us that our goal from that event should be to meet one new person. And that should be your goal for the first event.  

Pro tip: Prepare for an event just like you prepare for a presentation. For example, learn how to introduce yourself and sum up everything about you in a couple of sentences.  

Access new possibilities

In my third year, at the Industry Talks event with Nikki Foy, lead scriptwriter at Ubisoft, I heard great advice - when you meet someone, do an actionable follow-up. Ask them to read your script, connect with someone or help you. It is important to follow up with people to maintain the momentum of meeting them and show that you value their connection. Keeping in touch can serve as a reminder of your presence, especially since they meet many people. 

Pro tip: Be sure to connect with people you meet on York University LinkedIn, it is a great way to stay in contact.  

Learn more about your potential future

In my second year, I discovered how it is to work for the creative industry as an artist at events that brought beneficial and concrete advice. Two events I attended, the Woman in Arts Roundtable and the Writer-in-Residence Event: Meet the Presses had amazing guests, like HBO MAX’s Sort Of star Amanda Cordner, TIFF COO Beth Janson or the Coach House Books editorial director Alana Wilcox. As a screenwriter, I discovered that my work could be defined by seasons, as I might write in winter and film in summer. I also learned how important it is to have community and what I can expect when submitting my work to publishers.

Get experience in organizing events and connecting outside York

For me, it's easier to network when I am part of organizing an event. I helped organize Industry Talks with Nikki Foy. I got to connect with more people through communication about the event and it helped me connect with more people outside of the university. Other than on LinkedIn, where we follow each other's activities, I also asked some of them for a more detailed insight of an industry I would love to work for. 

Have a chance to connect more with your peers

At York events, I often meet with my peers who are screenwriting or production majors; that was the case on Industry Talks with videographer and photographer Elijah De Los Santos, aka Of The Saint. It is an opportunity for broadening lateral networking - meeting people with whom you would love to work. I connected with screenwriters I worked with - but only through Zoom - and with production majors whose movies I watched and liked. If you need an example, Matt Johnson, the director, met Matthew Miller, the screenwriter at York University. They did many movies together, the last being the hit film BlackBerry