By Phil Stella
I recently got a call from a reader who admitted to being very introverted but still wanted to improve her networking results. I thought other introverts might benefit from what I shared, so here’s the essence of that conversation.
- Introverted people have the potential of being better networkers than extroverts … really. They talk less but listen more. They’d rather ask than tell. These are great qualities for a networker who wants to make the best possible first impression when engaging strangers. Extroverts tend to talk too much and mostly about themselves. They can’t listen effectively when they’re talking all the time.
- Introverts should create and practice a simple elevator speech response to the often-asked question at networking events – “What do you do?” They can practice it with friends they’re comfortable with until it is short, focused, engaging, and interesting.
- Introverts should also try to ask that question first to get the other person talking. It’s easier for them to then respond to what someone says or ask another question than to initiate the conversation.
- And, of course, introverts should never admit that they’re shy or show it in their face or eyes. They can also get some feedback from people they’re comfortable with by trying simple role-plays.
- Finally, networking – and creating the relationships that can result – is a process, not an event. Introverts should make an effort to get out of their comfort zones and learn to fake projecting their image of comfort and confidence. In networking, perception is reality.
So, introverts arise. You can make the Varsity Networking Team, too.
Phil Stella runs Effective Training & Communication, where he empowers business leaders to communicate confidently. A popular trainer and executive coach on workplace communications and sales presentations, he is also on the Cleveland faculty of the University of Phoenix and the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Initiative.