Networking Skills for Introverts

Networking, at its very core, seems to be an activity better suited to extroverts – those people who gain energy from groups and social interactions and do their best thinking externally. Introverts, on the other hand, are more inward thinkers, often finding social interactions draining. Although, in general, they prefer smaller groups and more one-on-one interactions, that’s not to say that all introverts are bad networkers (or that all extroverts are great networkers) – it just that introverts may have to work a bit harder.

So what can introverts do to make networking a bit easier? Practice and preparation are key. Below is a summary of the networking for introverts tips highlighted in a recent article.

  1. Get to know people before – check social media sites and/or event sponsor’s forums/blogs
  2. Go prepared – bring business cards, know the dress code, and have a map to the location
  3. Start a conversation right away – don’t wait; the longer you do, the harder it will be to get started
  4. Look for another seemingly shy person and engage them in conversation
  5. Don’t talk too fast – ask open-ended questions and actively listen to the response
  6. Don’t overanalyze afterwards – if you made a mistake, don’t beat yourself up

Interested in learning more? Pick up Devora Zack’s Networking for People Who Hate Networking: A Field Guide for Introverts, the Overwhelmed and the Underconnected or Carole Cameron’s SPLASH! An Introvert’s Guide to Being Seen, Heard and Remembered.

Remember, individuals are complex and multi-faceted. Introversion/Extroversion is just one component of your personality; other components will impact your success in networking and a variety of other business- and career-related activities (e.g., sales, conflict resolution, team building, leadership). One framework for understanding personality that Life Strategies uses is Personality Dimensions (PD). Want to learn more? Book a workshop for your team – contact us at Interested in training to use Personality Dimensions ? Consider becoming a certified facilitator – click here to learn more.

Feel free to share your networking experiences as introverts or extroverts in the comments section. What’s your biggest challenge? How does your personality impact your networking success?

Originally posted July 28, 2011 by Cassie Saunders

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