The title of this blog will probably come as a shock to those who know me because I am the farthest thing from an introvert by the standard definition. I get a lot of my energy from being around people and I generally enjoy group settings. I also have a basic belief that anyone can network and most of us are networking, or relying on our network in some fashion, all of the time. So the premise that networking doesn’t work for introverts, or even more forceful – can’t work for introverts, bothers me. It’s the reason I read over a dozen articles on networking for introverts and why I decided to write this post.
Many of the tips I discovered fit within the framework that I describe as good networking but three stood out in my readings.
Build real relationships with one-on-one interaction: Most networking events can be intimidating due to the sheer size of attendees. I remember being terrified of my first larger event because hundreds of strangers would be in the same room with me. The event came and instead of trying to meet everyone in the room I focused my attention on finding one interesting person with whom I could have a truly meaningful conversation and schedule a follow-up meeting. It happened to be the first person I met and it made the entire event much more enjoyable. That one-on-one time proved beneficial and created a relationship I value to this day.
Ask questions: Allow the person you’re talking with to do most of the talking by asking questions. This goes with a previous blog I wrote about finding people’s stories. By asking questions we allow the other person to talk about something he loves more than anything else – himself.
Allow yourself time to recharge: I love this point because I think it affects almost anyone no matter how introverted or extroverted they are. I always try to schedule down time after an event to simply be alone for a while and reflect on the event or refocus on the next part of my day. Don’t be afraid to allow yourself some down time and don’t overschedule yourself. Being a good networker doesn’t mean you have to attend every event.
Additional resources can be found at the end of this article. What do you think? Are there tips that are more important than these three to networking as an introvert? Share your thoughts in the comments!