Believe it or not, your introversion gives you a networking advantage. This runs contrary to popular belief and perhaps your own experience.'Believe it or not, your introversion gives you a networking advantage.'Click To Tweet
You and I both know that, as introverts, we lose energy when talking to a group of new people. What’s more, we despise small talk. Really, we’d rather be at home with a book or with a few close friends than at a networking function of any size.
But, truth be told, your introversion is really a gift, when it comes to networking. Check out 5 ways your introversion makes you an extraordinary networker.
1. You listen.
The secret to building a relationship with people is putting them first and treating them the way they want to be treated. Listening is a phenomenal way to do both these things. When you listen, you…
- Demonstrate interest in other people and what they have to say
- Honor them by giving them center stage
Listening is all about asking people about themselves, and according to Leil Lowndes, there’s no better way to endear yourself to someone. They’ll think you’re great without you having to say much at all.
2. You do your homework.
While listening is important, it’s not everything. You have to know what to ask and what to talk about. A little research can help you do just that.
Fortunately, introverts are superb researchers. Most enjoy reading the newspaper, magazines, books, or the web. They can gather information like nobody’s business.
Before you ever attend a networking function, research the people you want to talk to. Figure out their GPS – their goals, passions, and struggles. Identify what you have in common with them, and figure out where you can help.'Identify what you have in common with them, and figure out where you can help.'Click To Tweet
3. You’re strategic.
When you have a limited supply of energy, as all introverts do, you can’t run around a conference room like a balloon spurting hot air. You have to choose your targets wisely.
Wise introverts determine who they need to meet and make plans to meet them before the networking function ever begins. They know that it’s not how many relationships they form but, rather, the quality of the relationships they form.'It's not how many relationships you form but, rather, the quality of the relationships you form.'Click To Tweet
Furthermore, they want to invest in the kinds of people who’ll influence them positively – as Michal Stawicki points out. The old Jim Rohn quote rings true: In the end, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”
4. You follow up.
Introverts are thoughtful communicators who prefer writing to in-person conversation. This puts them at an advantage when it comes to following up with new connections. It’s when the networking events end that their strengths really shine.
After a networking event, whip out your pen and write the person you talked to a thoughtful, handwritten note. By “thoughtful”, I mean you should include snippets from your conversation: allude to whatever you talked about, be it a mutual connection, kids, or a business problem. Handwritten notes are important because they communicate time and care.
If you’re not into handwriting, no sweat. You can email too. Email is advantageous because it gives you an opportunity to share links and digital resources that might help your new connection. If you can add value to the relationship by sharing a helpful resource, by all means, do so!'If you can add value to the relationship by sharing a helpful resource, by all means, do so!'Click To Tweet
5. You’re in it for the long haul.
Introverts are among the most dependable, long-lasting friends. While introverts may have fewer friends, their friendships have an impressive history. This tendency to stick it out with certain relationships is also a gift.
Adam Rifkin says that, when you lose a job, you’ll probably turn to 5-10 people. Those people will be the ones you trust most – people who can and will help you when you find yourself in a pinch. They’re also, he argues, the ones you should invest in regularly.
As an introvert, you’re probably already doing this, but make sure you’re nurturing the relationships you care about most. Push yourself to invest in them and do so regularly.'Make sure you're nurturing the relationships you care about most.'Click To Tweet