Contrary to popular belief, I’m an introvert. No, I’m not shy, which is often used as a synonym for introvert. But I am easily burned out by engaging with people. Yet, I’ve been able to network successfully, get to know a lot of great people, and build strong relationships. Most times, people are shocked when I tell them I’m an introvert because of my extrovert tendencies. I honestly feel that my introvert personality makes me great at networking, and I’m going to tell you why. But first, let’s get some clarity on what being an introvert means.
Here’s how Vocabulary.com defines an introvert: Introvert comes from Latin intro-, “inward,” and vertere, “turning.” It describes a person who tends to turn inward mentally. Introverts sometimes avoid large groups of people, feeling more energized by time alone. The opposite of an introvert is an extrovert, who finds energy in interactions with others.
While this might not seem like a recipe for great networking, it actually can be. These are 5 reasons why being an introvert can make you great at networking:
#1 – You’re selective about what events you attend.
Networking events are happening everywhere, all the time. But not every networking event will be fruitful depending on who will be attending. Since introverts are not really all about going out with groups of people they don’t know anyway, we tend to be very selective about attending events. We want to make sure we will have a great experience, and will meet people we want to build relationships with.
#2 – You’re strategic about who you talk to.
When we attend events and are looking to network, we are strategic about it. When we ask (or search for) who’s going to be at the event, it’s not because we are bougie. It’s because we want to start thinking ahead of time about who we want to talk to, and why. Often times, I will connect with people online or social media prior to an event, and let them know I want to chat with them at the event. That way, they are looking forward to meeting me, and our conversation is much more substantial.
#3 – You listen more than you talk.
Introverts hate being ‘on’ too long. We don’t want to do all the talking. So we enjoy letting the other person talk, but we also listen attentively. We are listening for what we can connect with, and not how we can own the conversation.
#4 – You connect with individuals.
The sooner you get down to one-on-one conversations, the better when it comes to networking. People may not want to share their ideas or opportunities to work with them with a large group. They don’t want everyone to know what they are working on, or the opportunity just may only be available for a few people. You will get a lot closer to closing the deal or setting up the next step when you are connecting with individuals. Since introverts prefer connecting with one person at a time, we often get down to the nitty gritty a lot faster.
#5 – You don’t get stuck at the networking stage.
Honestly, we aren’t just networking for the fun of it. Since extroverts find energy interacting with people, they can get stuck at the networking stage because they love meeting new people. Introverts, however, want to move on from this stage ASAP and over to the relationship and building stage. Which is the point of networking anyway – to make connections that lead to relationships.
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Don’t believe the myth that introverts can’t network because we can, and we can do it well. While getting us to network can be difficult, introverts who are willing to step out there often find they are successful at networking.