Networking for Introverts

I’ve been doing some reading on a variety of topics. In so doing it struck me that many of our chamber events, particularly networking are really more geared to individuals who may be higher on the scale of extrovert. 

We are all on a continuum between 100% introvert and 100% extrovert. If you are fairly balanced between the two, then you might be an ambivert.  

Really the classification of whether you are an introvert has to do with how you recharge. 

Do you get your energy from being with a group of people and feeding off that energy and that charges you? – You are likely higher on the continuum toward extrovert. 

Does being with large groups of people actually pull energy from you and you get your energy from things like alone time, time spent with maybe 1 or 2 people, doing something, creative, active, etc? – Then you are on the other end of the continuum moving towards introvert.  If you are kind of in the middle with some characteristics of both you may be an ambivert.

It isn’t that introverts can’t connect, network and participate in large group settings, its just that particular activity doesn’t recharge their batteries.  So if you a reading this and saying, that is so me, then here are some tips for navigating business networking and making it work for you, while being true to yourself.

Redefine what Networking Looks like to You – Let’s call it Connecting, Building Relationships, don’t feel like you have to be this big outgoing personality.  Leverage your strengths, listen, be empathetic, ask a couple of key questions. Figure out your purpose for being there, like I am trying to hire people and ask if they know someone that can help.  Ask what they are trying to achieve, see how you can help.

Don’t Try to Work the Whole Room – Isn’t that a Relief!:)  Try to find kindred spirits, those more on the periphery, find people you truly connect with and go deeper with fewer more meaningful conversations.  Try for at least two.  Who knows where that might lead.

Focus on Asking Good Questions – Give it some thought, and then lean in and listen. Ask questions that can help you figure out how to be of use in building the relationship.  What excites you, what is the biggest challenge you are facing, where do you hope to take your business…..

Bring a Wing Man if that makes you feel better.  There is strength and comfort in numbers and at least you know one person there.

Don’t arrive late after everyone is connected and talking, it makes it harder and more intimidating to break in on a conversation.

Considering Volunteering to Work the Event – Gives you something to do, and and easy way of being introduced.

Ask your chamber staff or ambassadors for an introduction either in person or digitally.  State what you are looking for.  We all need help achieving our goals and our chamber is built on that belief among the members.

Hope you enjoyed this article and find it useful.  Stay tuned for more tips on leveraging the strengths you bring to the table as an introvert in building relationships for your business!

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