The most unlikely people are introverts, you’d be surprised. I’m neither an introvert or an extrovert, I’m an ambivert, but I’ll explain what that is later.
It seems though that there is so much pressure for introverts and ambiverts to be extroverts, but you don’t have to be.
You also don’t have to put yourself through hell either, it’s all about accepting your limits.
Instead, start small and with a few people. DON’T throw yourself onto a stage!
And when I say a few people, I mean a few of your friends or family members and then build from there.
As you move along you will eventually start to become desensitised, you will start to build strength and stamina and eventually, you’ll forget about the eyes that are watching you.
Another tip, try your very best to find the people in the audience that are happy, that are smiling…not someone who looks bored or is yawning. It’s still embedded in my mind the look on a particular man’s face when I was delivering a lecture, he was yawning, his body language said it all, and it completely threw me off.
More tips on networking for introverts:
Choose your business or career wisely
It’s so easy to be enticed by an awesome salary, by the thought of having an amazing office that overlooks the city…but is the job a good fit for your personality? Does having that salary or high flying office mean you have to continuously step outside your comfort zone and put yourself through anxiety? Is it really worth it? Try and choose a line of work that fits you, that makes you feel comfortable and puts you through less unnecessary stress. Doing something that you’re passionate about will also make it easier because you’re in your comfort zone and it wouldn’t be your passion if you weren’t comfortable with it.
Set yourself an allowance
Ever felt as though you’d prefer to stay at home in your PJ’s curled up on the couch with a nice glass of wine in hand and a good movie instead of attending a party or networking event? I have plenty of times. Why not try setting yourself an allowance, a set number of events you agree to attend each week/each month. For example, ‘5 times a month I will attend networking events for work.’ Doing this makes decision-making a lot easier and you’ll feel less guilty with yourself.
The power of one
Don’t feel the need to work the room, to network with every single person that walks through the door. It’s not about who gets the most business cards, it’s about who you make a connection with. If you only come out meeting and connecting with one person, that is a win and better than meeting heaps of people but not connecting with any of them on a deeper level.
Find a partner
You don’t have to do networking alone, find a partner. Perhaps your perfect partner might be a co-worker who you connect with or a friend with the same temperament and similar skill sets. They will be your support system.
It’s OK to leave early
This is a point I can very easily relate to. There have been many times at social events where I can enjoy talking and then bam, I hit the wall, I hit my breaking point and I simply want to go home. I have no more to give.
I think it’s really important to remember, especially for introverts, that when this happens it’s OK to leave early. If you’re with friends and family, they know you and will understand that this is all part of who you are. If you feel really guilty about doing it, take a break. Step outside, get a coffee, sit down and then re-engage when you’re ready.
Gandhi was a very shy man and said that it was his greatest source of strength. Apparently when he was young he used to run home after school as fast as he could because he didn’t want to socialise with any of the other kids.
‘In a gentle way, you can shape the world.’ -Gandhi [tweetthis twitter_handles=”@TheMTWoman”]In a gentle way, you can shape the world. -Gandhi[/tweetthis]
An Ambivert is smack in the middle of the introvert-extrovert spectrum. In many ways, ambiverts have the best of both worlds, able to tap into the strengths of both introverts and extroverts as needed.
Given the choice, introverts will devote their social energy to a small group of people they care about most, preferring a glass of wine with a close friend to a party full of strangers. Introverts think before they speak, have a more deliberate approach to risk, and enjoy solitude. They feel energized when focusing deeply on a subject or activity that really interests them. When they’re in overly stimulating environments (too loud, too crowded, etc.), they tend to feel overwhelmed. They seek out environments of peace, sanctuary, and beauty; they have an active inner life and are at their best when they tap into its riches.
Extroverts relish social life and are energized by interacting with friends and strangers alike. They’re typically assertive, go-getting, and able to seize the day. Extroverts are great at thinking on their feet; they’re relatively comfortable with conflict. Given the choice, extroverts usually prefer more stimulating environments that give them frequent opportunities to see and speak with others. When they’re in quiet environments, they’re prone to feeling bored and restless. They are actively engaged in the world around them and at their best when tapping into its energy.
Have you tried any of these strategies to help with your networking? What strategy helps you the most?