Just because you run a business, doesn’t mean you are an extrovert who can sell a dirty sock – loudly. In fact many of the most successful entrepreneurs are quiet, reflective and introverts.
The definition of an introvert – according to Wikipedia is – someone who tends to be more reserved and less outspoken in groups. They often take pleasure in solitary activities such as reading, writing, and using computers. An introvert is likely to enjoy time spent alone and find less reward in time spent with large groups of people, though he or she may enjoy interactions with close friends. Introversion is not seen as being identical to shy or to being a social outcast. Introverts prefer solitary activities over social ones, whereas shy people (who may be extroverts at heart) avoid social encounters out of fear,and the social outcast has little choice in the matter of his or her solitude.
Can you relate? I can.
I am a total introvert. I can whoop it up with the best of them – but I find continual social interaction exhausting. I get overwhemed at networking events very quickly. At a recent #MomBizMondays Twitter chat, we were talking about networking etiquette – and the question of how to network when you’re an introvert was raised – so I thought I would share 5 of my introvert networking strategies.
1. Shift Your Mindset
Networking is not about you shouting to the world about you, your business and ensuring every attendee has your business card in their hand. It’s not about you at all. It’s about learning about how other people might be of value to you. So when you meet someone new, instead of launching into your sales pitch – ask about them… and figure out if they can support you and help your business. It’s not about you, it’s about them. Ask lots of questions.
- You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you. –Dale Carnegie
2. Be Ready with your Elevator Pitch.
Be ready to summarize what you do and how you can help in 10 seconds or less – this is known as your elevator pitch.
“I am a speaker, trainer and consultant for women in business. I work with coaches, authors and experts to help them create content for their clients”.
I can say it anytime, any place. I am confident when I say it and I am proud of what I do. You know you have hit a nerve or a pain point with someone when they say “Really? Tell me more…” that’s your cue to outline how you can help them. See – it’s not about you… it’s about them. Ask them about their struggles then outline how you can help.
3. Bring a Friend
There is power in numbers. Bring a gal pal with you to a networking event so you don’t feel like a sitting duck or a fish out of water. Have her walk in first. Let her make the first connection. Let her open the conversation then jump in at an appropriate time. Work together, take care of each other.
4. Clarify Your Intentions – Set a Goal
Start small. Maybe your goal is to meet 3 people at one event. Maybe it’s to introduce yourself to one person you admire and have been following for ever. Just because you attend a networking event, doesn’t mean you have to work the room. Make one meaningful connection with a person who you will follow up with – and your event has been successful. Don’t be overwhelmed. Set your own goals, work at your pace.
If all else fails, if you lose your nerve, you botch up a conversation – who cares. Just be friendly, be yourself, smile and have fun. One networking event is not going to make or break your company. If you don’t walk away with any meaningful contacts, then take the night for what it is. A great excuse to have a shower, put on fresh clothes and get out of the house. That’s a win- win too.
So all you introverts out there – how do you network effectively when being social just isn’t your thing? I’d love to hear your tips and tricks!