What networking advice do you have for introverts?
Most people see themselves as either extroverts (e.g. outgoing, enjoy being in large groups) or introverts (e.g. shy, reserved, uncomfortable in large groups) – though many people are really some combination thereof. Extroverts, because they are such social beings, are typically deemed solid networkers – and they are! However, I believe that introverts are actually the best networkers out there.
Why? It turns out, introverts are fabulous listeners. Irrespective of how many people are in the room, you’ll know when you’re talking with an introvert because they will make you feel like it is just the two of you given their innate ability to focus and hear what you have to say. However, here’s the thing: Networking can be exhausting for the introvert. And, while introverts can practice and pull off networking with everyone else, they will almost always leave a networking event completely drained.
So, are you an introvert? If so, to help you get through networking events a little more easily, consider these tips:
- Carefully select the networking events you attend. No need to go to any and every networking event on the calendar. Instead, choose your engagements wisely. Would you like to connect with people you already know? Prefer to discover some new connections? Do you have a particular industry segment you are targeting? Are you simply trying to get more involved in the community? Pick your events to match your interests.
- Wade right in. Once you are at the event, walk right in… don’t linger on the sidelines. Get busy networking. If you don’t know who to talk with, find someone who is already sitting on the sidelines – you know the look… those people who are hanging out in the shadows of the event – and save them! Ask them what brought them there… whether they have attended these events in the past… how they learned about the program… etc. They will be eternally grateful for your kindness and interest.
- One, two or three. Remember that the point of a networking event is to connect with people – not to collect a pocket full of other people’s business cards. With that in mind, identify just one, two or three people – people with whom you want to remain in touch beyond this networking event – to interact with. Once you have done that, if you are ready to leave… then leave! You have accomplished what you came to achieve. Well done. You have my permission to go home and take a nap!
What advice do you have for the introvert? Your tips and advice are appreciated at CoffeeLunchCoffee.com.