I know that I am an introvert, but after I graduated college, quickly learned that I could not be that way at work. I developed a work persona that is more outgoing. I also learned that I had to keep my smart-ass bottled up. It has worked pretty well for me, but I still am not one to go to mixers and business events to socialize. I stumbled upon the below article details related to introverts and networking.
Here's what worked for the author of “The Introvert’s Guide to Success in Business and Leadership”:
I learned to appreciate my introversion rather than repudiate it.
I have met so many introverts in business who talk about introversion as if it's a malady that one must get over in order to be successful. This is wrong. Introversion is simply a preference for the inner world of ideas because this is where we get our energy. By understanding and accepting this preference, introverts can optimize time spent with their ideas to refine them and recharge. This allows them to be as powerful and persuasive as possible when networking situations arise.
I recognized that one-on-one conversations would be my lifeline during networking. Generally speaking, business events — and particularly networking events that require engaging with groups — are demanding for introverts. An antidote to this, I learned, is to seek out conversations with one individual at a time. When I approach events this way I have more productive conversations and form better business relationships — and I'm less drained by the experience.
I stopped being afraid to be the one to reach out.
My inner introvert used to think that making the effort to introduce myself was risky. I worried that my target would not be interested in talking with me or that I would make them uncomfortable. I learned over time that when I extended my hand with a smile and an introduction my effort would be reciprocated, even when I approached executives above my rank.
I learned to prioritize time to re-energize.
While it can be tempting to go from a networking lunch right back to work, or from a networking cocktail event right to a dinner, if you're an introvert and you do that you won't be able to bring your best self to your next commitment. Take the time to recharge, whether by walking from the lunch back to work, or by finding 30 minutes alone between cocktails and dinner.
Introverts who avoid networking are making a critical career mistake. Being an adroit networker is non-negotiable — and not as hard as it might seem.
If you're an introvert, what networking strategies have you found that work?