Urbandictionary.com defines an introvert as “A person who is energized by spending time alone. Contrary to popular belief, not all introverts are shy. Some may have great social lives and love talking to their friends but just need some time to be alone to "recharge" afterwards."
Does this sound like you? Do you tend to avoid networking situations or become exhausted at the thought of reaching out to people to ask for help?
Being an introvert does not give you an out or the justification to avoid networking. Acknowledge that it may take you more energy and a more intentional approach to follow through with different networking opportunities. Here are some tips to help ease you into effective networking situations.
- Think in terms of quality not quantity: When attending an event, do not set the expectation that you need to meet a lot of people. Engaging with one or two people is a success that will most likely lead to deeper connections.
- Ask questions: By asking questions such as “what brought your to this event?” or “how do you know the host?” opens the door to a conversation where the other person is doing most of the talking and sets the stage to a comfortable dialogue.
- Attend events with a friend: Finding someone else to attend the event with you provides you with a familiar face and support. Going with an extroverted person also provides you with someone to initiate conversations that you can then join.
- Put your phone away: Your phone can give you the perfect excuse to not engage with others. Also, if you look busy others will not approach you. The point of going to a networking event is to meet people. So make yourself available.
- Use social media tools: Successful networking is not always about being in front of someone and having an in-person conversation. Posting articles, questions, and responses to social media sites is a way to engage and share your expertise. This can open the door to successful networking.
Did you know that Barack Obama, Nelson Mandela, Rosa Parks, Meryl Streep, Eleanor Roosevelt, Michael Jordan, and Mahatma Gandhi are all introverts. They learned strategies to help them overcome their fears so that they could succeed in life and business. You can too!