Through this means, I noticed a whole lot of visits from a great blog post titled "How to network: for introverts.", from Business Pundit.com. (This image is from that post) Dave Rothacker put a link to my "how do you introduce yourself" post in one of the comments, so that alone has driven a bunch of traffic (thanks Dave!).
The article is great, and touches on an issue many of my introverted readers have … How do I get out there and market my product or service if I don’t feel comfortable with traditional networking?
I personally think there is a real bias in the businessworld about introverts, since by common wisdom, the more loud, fast-talking and slick salesperson is seen as being a "better marketer." Often, especially in the online world, the converse is true, with more people trusting the opinion of the more quiet, thoughtful, and detailed person.
There is also some confusion as to what the word "introverted" really means. I like the definition I heard from a Meyers-Briggs training class, which said introversion and extroversion are ways in which you get energized. So an extroverted person would feel energized interacting with a large group. An introverted person would feel energized spending time alone in deep thought, or in a one-on-one conversation with someone else. Introverts are perfectly capable of delivering effective presentations to large groups and doing "extroverted" things … it will just sap their energy after doing so.
With that context, here are a few nuggests from the article:
Networking is an investment, not a nuisance.
Imagine if you could always find what you needed in just 1 or 2 phone calls. If you are well networked, you probably can. By putting in the time to build your network, you save time when you need to get things done. Well networked people don’t have to waste time firing off random emails to people they don’t know, buying leads or industry lists, or hunting through hundreds of resumes for the right candidate. Pick your poison. Do you want to put in the time now, or later?
- At first, you have to kiss a lot of frogs.
Sometimes you have to start by picking events at random. You spend an hour in a very uncomfortable setting, but you learn what to go to and what to skip. Eventually you find a few people or events that you like.
- Do cool things.
Introverts typically don’t like to talk about themselves – we prefer to talk about ideas. Force yourself to discuss some of the things you’ve done. Don’t brag, make sure they are relevant to the conversation. Then the extroverts can talk about you and pass your achievements along. It gives you credibility in some circles. Yes, I realize you would rather be accepted for what you think and know, but the truth is that the world measures you by what you do.
Read the rest of the article here.