Confession: I’m an introvert. Now I know it is hard for some people to believe, but I would rather be alone than in a big group most of the time. Many introverts assume that because they’d rather be alone, they will never become a good networker. I couldn’t disagree more.
I think it is untrue that it takes a complete extrovert to be a good networker. Extroverts do have some advantages because they are good at getting in a room and meeting the most people. However, some extroverts are so consumed with meeting people that they never connect in a personal, relational way.
Introverts usually get a bad rap since we only make up about 24-40% of the population. However, according to this study, introverts make up a majority of the gifted population.
Networking for introverts is simple… use the personality God gave you and leverage it for others.
Here are some tips I’ve learned along the way for introverts who are committed to networking with others:
- Make sure you schedule time to be alone if you know you will be around a lot of people. It will help you get that needed alone time and prevent you from wearing out. After a conference, I try to set aside at least two days of very few human interactions just to recover from all the people I meet.
- Stay away from trivial conversations when talking with others. Focus on new ideas and innovative products. As introverts, we hardly ever say something without methodically thinking about it first. You don’t want to come off as rude, but whenever you’re talking with others, drive the conversation by talking about things that really matter. Afterwards, you’ll notice the conversation didn’t exhaust you like small-talk conversations typically do.
- Make connections for others. Being an introvert is probably the biggest reason I am good at connecting. If you don’t need to be the only one connected to someone, introduce them to another key contact. This gives you a front row seat to the conversation without having to be in the game.
How do you balance being an introvert and building a strong network of contacts?