Both extraverts and introverts can use their strengths to network successfully. In today’s blog posts I will be sharing some tips for introverts and extroverts and advice how they can overcome their own difficulties.
#6 Networking is not just for party animals
There is a misconception that all good networkers are outgoing, extroverted and great with people but in my experience this is certainly not the case.
Yes an outgoing person can comfortably enter a room without trepidation, will confidently walk up to anyone and start talking and never seems short of something to chat about, but this is not the key to great networking. On the surface they may look as though they have it sussed but they can be self-centred, talk about themselves a lot and not that interested in anyone else.
A shy, quieter more introverted person is more likely to listen. In reality they may be asking questions to save themselves from having to talk too much but this is a key networking skill they are using. This leads to valuable relationships forming and them having lots of useful information about others and their businesses.
Many extroverts regularly frequent lots of networking events but unfortunately find this fruitless as they never get to know other professionals well enough to gain business opportunities. Whilst many introverted people avoid networking events as they cannot overcome the fear of that initial stage. Sadly this denies them the ability to form mutually beneficial business relationships with other professionals.
Luckily we can overcome these difficulties. There is lots to learn and gain in learning from the behavioural traits of the other.
If you are the outgoing extrovert try:
- Looking out for the introvert and encouraging them to speak whilst you work hard to stay quiet and listen.
- Avoid getting distracted by the new person who just walked in the room that you want to target.
- In all new conversations encourage others to speak first.
- Listen intently to what others are saying as if you were going to be tested on it later.
If you are more introverted try:
- Watching the extroverts and copying how they start up conversations. Repeated often enough this will improve your confidence. You can practise this in smaller or social situations too so that by the time you get out networking you are feeling more comfortable.
- Volunteering to help run the event. You will have a reason to approach people and introduce yourself which will lead into a conversation… a great first step.
- Think about the questions you might be asked and what you want to answer in advance to save drying up in the moment. There are some very typical questions you will be asked at a networking event. “What do you do?”, “How is business?” and “What is this event like?”
It is the ability to build strong valuable relationships that is the true reflection of great networking. So when you meet new people, whether you are an introvert or an extrovert, there are definitely things you can do to improve your chances of gaining new introduction, connections and clients.
If you enjoyed the above blog posts, you might also like my other articles from the same series including: