Contrary to popular belief, introverts have a secret power that can make them exceptionally successful in networking. I am a lifelong introvert who would rather be home in my slipper socks and binge a good Netflix show. I relish my quiet time and sipping green tea in my favorite mug.
However, since new clients won’t find me in my living room, I have to trade my comfy yoga pants for business casual attire (and makeup!) and venture out to make new connections.
How did I do this?
I vowed to push myself to step outside of my shell. I accomplished this by taking on a pharmaceutical sales job at Pfizer, selling the blue pill of all things! During sales training surrounded by extroverts, I learned to appreciate my introversion and make it my secret weapon.
As a result, I enjoyed a successful career, including ranking #1 in product sales in my region two years in a row. Later, I managed a busy radiation oncology clinic at Duke Hospital, the largest clinic in the Duke Cancer Center.
If I can do this, you can go out and shake a few hands this week.
In this article, I’ll share my top networking tips for introverts, demonstrating how our natural strengths can be harnessed to build strong business connections.
But first, let’s clarify what introversion is. Introversion is a personality trait characterized by a preference for quiet, low-stimulation environments and a focus on internal thoughts and feelings.
Far from being a liability, introversion can be an asset in the networking world as introverts tend to be better listeners, more empathetic, and skilled at building deep, meaningful connections.
Here are five strategies that will help introverts network like a boss:
- Embrace the Challenge – It may be tempting to stay home and avoid networking events, but pushing yourself out of your comfort zone is essential for success. Remember that networking is an opportunity to grow both personally and professionally. Give yourself time to adjust to the environment, and soon, you’ll feel more at ease.
- Do Your Homework – Knowledge is power, and knowing about the event, its sponsors, and attendees will make you feel more confident. Researching beforehand allows you to identify potential connections and prepare relevant questions or conversation starters.
- Develop a List of Conversation Starters – Small talk can be draining for introverts, but having a list of engaging topics or questions can help you navigate conversations more easily. Focus on current events, the host organization, or relevant business subjects to ensure you have thoughtful and intelligent points to discuss.
- Team Up with a Friend – Bring a like-minded professional friend to networking events to make the experience more enjoyable and productive. You can split the room and make introductions for each other, ensuring that both of you make the most of the opportunities available.
- Master the Art of Follow-up – Introverts excel at building one-on-one relationships, so make sure you capitalize on this strength. Send a note or make a call within 24-48 hours after the event, inviting your new connections to continue the conversation over lunch or coffee. Add their information to your contact management system to keep track of your growing network.
Overall, networking can be a rewarding experience for introverts, leading to new clients, collaborations, and referrals. By embracing your introvert superpowers and using these tips to navigate networking events, you can create valuable connections and positively impact your business. So, don’t shy away from networking opportunities – embrace them and let your introverted strengths shine!