That’s right, I said it. Introverts rock at networking. It’s true. Introverts can actually be better at networking than extroverts.
Shocked, are you? “What’s the catch?” you ask?
Here it is: Introverts rock at networking when they do it by embracing their natural strengths. This means that the path to good networking for an introvert is not, as many would have it, for them to act more like extroverts. No, indeed. It’s for them to take the things they are good at as introverts and apply those qualities to the business of building connections.
Introverts do their homework
For example, introverts tend to be better at doing their homework, both before and after in-person interactions. So if they’re going for coffee with a new connection, introverts are more likely to do a little research on the person, review their correspondence to date, and be prepared to have a really engaging and meaningful talk when they do come face to face. After the meeting, they are also the ones with the skills to follow up, follow through, and keep in touch. That’s some valuable stuff right there.
Introverts rock the one-on-one
Introverts also tend to prefer deeper one on one conversations to working a room. This means that in a group setting, while an extrovert might talk to more people and make more contacts, an introvert might only talk to one or two, but those conversations will be longer and deeper, and more likely to lead to meaningful long term connection.
Introverts need their recharge time
Another key to being a networking introvert is to allow for the reality that social interaction can be very draining. If you’re an introvert, it might not be sustainable to be around people all day. You will get burned out, overwhelmed, and lose your ability to make connections.
As an introvert, it’s important to monitor your energy level and tap out for some re-energizing alone time when you need it. Even if, say, you’re at a conference where there is programming 12 hours a day, it might not be the best idea to try to attend all of it. You will probably be more effective if you bail on a session or an event here and there to maintain your energy reserves.
Resources for introverts
I recently discovered a book that explores this subject really beautifully. Networking for People Who Hate Networking is a great read for anyone who feels like they are just not built for networking in the conventional way. I strongly recommend it.