Question: How many introverts does it take to hold a meeting?
Answer: Two… as long as they both have laptops and Internet connections!
How many prefer one-on-one as opposed to group meetings? If you answer ME, you’re not alone.
Did you know that introverts represent from 25-49% of the population? Studies show that introversion increases with intelligence; more than 75% of people with IQs above 160 are introverts. Now, does that make you feel better?
Networking, the dreaded topic for most of us, if you are an introvert, I can guess what you are thinking:
- Networking is boring and painful (often true!)
- I feel awkward and stilted when I force myself to network (I know that feeling, believe me!)
- There are plenty of extroverts in the company; let them handle the networking. I can “outsource” relationship-building (wrong!)
Networking is a necessary evil in the world of Sales, especially if you’re in a small to medium sized market. So much business is done through networking. Want to increase sales? Increase your networking. Networking isn’t about immediate gain. Sometimes it can take years to cultivate, while at other times, it can develop within days. With all the current business challenges, networking and building strong connections is important because it delivers the element of face-to-face credibility and trust.
Networking is necessary for finding new clients and centers of influence and building a strong referral pipeline. It’s also a strategy used to open doors and build powerful relationships. However, many people fail to make personal connections when following up with initial contacts, so the focus becomes quantity rather than quality. The ultimate networking goal is to develop mutually beneficial relationships with people.
Leverage your skills as an introvert.
Odds are, you are a good listener. Prepare some questions in advance that can get the conversation going. Use email and social media to get the conversation started in advance and keep it going after the meeting.
Go with a friend or colleague, two can offer mutual support and introductions.
Give yourself permission to come and go as you want, no apologies (You don’t need to be first on the scene, or stay to the bitter end!).
Look for Someone Else Who Seems Shy
It can be very hard to break into a big group of people – especially when they all seem confident. Look for anyone on their own – perhaps standing in a corner, or loitering uncomfortably on the outskirts of a group. They probably feel just as shy as you do, and they’ll almost certainly be grateful if you go and engage them in conversation.
Don’t Play Favorites
And this is the reason why networking gets such a bad rap.
It is actually easier for us introverts to build sound relationships, because we cherish each and every one of them. Unlike some savvy networkers – who meet so many people that they hardly remember them afterwards, and only pay attention to those who truly matter to them – we can really take time to build our relationships and take care of them. Remember, everybody deserves to be treated with respect and sincerity.
- Make a friend first, then the business conversation will come much more naturally
- It’s about continuing the conversation over time and building a productive and mutually profitable relationship. Make friends first, do business later!
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