Networking for introverts

Extroverts like nothing more than getting to know people and flitting from one acquaintance to another, expanding their networks without a moment’s thought. Introverts, on the other hand, prefer one-on-one conversations and focusing on a single topic without switching back and forth, which makes networking a far more difficult — but not impossible — exercise! Excerpt from the latest issue of Business Digest:

Businesspeople chatting in modern office lobby
1- PREPARE YOURSELF
If you do a little warm-up, as you would before a sports event, the effort involved will seem much easier.

•  Adopt the right mindset
If you know what you want from an interaction, then you are more likely to get it, so set yourself a goal and conceptualize your requirements.

•  Acclimatize your body
Keep an eye on your body language and give yourself a quick session of deep abdominal breathing to relax your muscles and your mind.

2- CLEVERLY EXPAND YOUR CIRCLE
The Internet, associations and your existing network are some of the many tools you can use to help you make contact. Learn to use them.

•  Switch from reality to the virtual world
Communicating via a computer screen will make it easier for you to engage in conversation, so do not be afraid of using new technologies. Join a group on Linkedin or Viadeo.

•  Think “ecosystem”
You have friends and a social life: how about thinking of them as the beginning of your network?

3- APPROACH OTHER PEOPLE … BUT BE YOURSELF!
Just because you do not have the poise of an extrovert does not mean you lack relational skills!

•  Learn the art of conversation
Listen to the person who is talking to you, but don’t encroach on him or her. Be careful not to monopolize the people you talk to; if they are extroverted, they may want to flit about!

•  Stay true to your own nature
Networking uses up a considerable amount of energy for introverts. The secret to success is allowing yourself to take a break when you feel the need.


Based on Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a world that can’t stop talking by Susan Cain (Crown, January 2013) and Invisibles: The Power of Anonymous Work in an Age of Relentless Self-Promotion by David Zweig (Portfolio, June 2014), “How introverts can network without changing their personalities” by Lisa Evans (Fast Company, April 2015), “Networking tips for introverts” by Sharon Florentine (cio.com, March 2015), “An introvert’s guide to networking” by Lisa Petrilli (Harvard Business Review, January 2012), “Introverti? 3 stratégies pour muscler votre réseau” (Place des réseaux, March 2012), and the interview with Catelyne Peker, VP HR at Speed Division, United States, July 2015.

Watch the video:

The power of introverts

As Susan Cain explains in this new TED conference, introverts bring to the world extraordinary talents and skills, and should thus be recognized and encouraged.