Can you think of someone who you admire in business networking? How about three or four people? And, what characteristics do you find in them that they come to your top of mind? My guess is these better networkers are using some introverted tendencies along the way to the downplaying of some ineffectual extroverted behaviors.
Beneficial 1: Introverts prefer to help, not always necessarily lead, and can make an advantage of helping by connecting. While my preference, INTJ, is to lead, many introverts like to remain behind the scenes. Everyone networks for similar reasons, to find –prospective clients, connections to get clients, a job, and resources for work and even personal needs. By leaning into a preference to listen first, an introvert can find opportunities to help other people with the connections they want and any resources they need.
Ineffectual 1: Few people have a tolerance for the person who wants to connect to always take. Takers range the whole continuum from introvert to extrovert.
Beneficial 2: Introverts prefer to listen before they start talking and extroverts love talking about themselves anytime! Networking involves both talking and listening. The style of networking that most of us respond positively to is the kind where the other person takes interest in us before they start talking about themselves. Why? Think about it – we are all more interested in ourselves, so if we can make the other person feel important first, by listening to them, then we have better rapport.
Ineffectual 2: Most of us want to run the other way from the business networker who starts and ends their conversation with you with I, me, my. Sorry but my extrovert friends, you know that is can too often be true for you.
Beneficial 3: When someone is more introverted in networking, they have a vested interest in seeing that their every minute of networking is getting them closer to meeting both the people they can help and the people who can help them. Because 140 characters online are as draining as working a room in an hour, introverts more consciously discern who is best to further connect with. It’s the best use of time for the connection made. Some consider this knack working your network and people will take notice.
Ineffectual 3: If all you do is network with 140 characters or work the room in an hour meeting, you’ll get noticed in a not so flattering light.
Beneficial 4: The highest compliment in networking, when you know you have it right, is when someone gives you a referral. The introvert prefers to keep a relationship bond intact rather than chance an energy leak – having to make yet more connections. Some introverts may find their self-confidence lower than preferable to follow-up. Just realize this strengthens the relationship from the referrer and plan the next moves. Introverts excel at planning. Boost it up with confidence for momentum.
Ineffectual 4: Getting so busy with extroverting actions, like more and more networking, can cause a person to procrastinate on follow-up with referrals given and promises made.
Beneficial 5: Networking is about building, and maintaining, relationships. It takes fewer but deeper relationships to energize an introvert. While typically not into large groups, smaller groups that meet regularly with a focus and purpose in mind – sounds like some networking – are encouraging for an introvert to authentically talk and contribute ideas.
Ineffectual 5: Few people like the schmoozer and fast talker with mostly a self-serving intent.
Regardless of whether you are more introverted or extroverted, most of these beneficial actions or behaviors are more natural for the introvert. For whoever shows these in business networking, there is less of a gag-reflex response to the typical networking behavior, more of a relaxed and in control feeling and people will – take more notice.
– – – – – – – – – –
Patricia Weber, Guest Blogger
Patricia is America’s #1 Business Coach for Introverts and the author of the eBook, The Happy and Fulfilled Introvert. She blogs at http://www.patricia-weber.com