We’re not all outgoing. We’re not all social butterflies. In fact, 16 to 50 percent of the population struggle with meeting people and networking. These people are sometimes called “introverts.” What are introverts? An introvert is a person who is predominantly concerned with their own thoughts and feelings rather than with external things.
But being introverted isn’t a bad thing, it’s just different. Having an introverted personality has some truly wonderful strengths. Introverts are great listeners, especially since they tend to take a little more time in answering questions, giving more substantial and personal responses. Being an introvert also means you are more self-sufficient than many extroverts and don’t judge yourself based on how others think of you. Introverts also don’t feel a need to be sociable or gain attention, which means you can spend more time on close friendships and relationships, giving them the attention they need.
However, the downside to being an introvert means you might find it a little bit harder to network and build up professional relationships. As an entrepreneur and LuLaRoe Retailer, knowing how to network is extremely important, nope it’s NECESSARY to your success. Networking and going out of your comfort zone to reach out to strangers can help you build up your T.E.A.M., improve your pop-up attendance and even your pop-up hosting line.
But don’t worry! Marsha Shandur from “Yes Yes Marsha” said “Networking is absolutely a learnable skill. I actually think that introverts make the best networkers.” Just like budgeting, playing the piano or photography, networking is something you can teach yourself, work on and grow to be super great at! So yes! You CAN NETWORK!!! Are you wondering why introverts make the best networkers? Well, they’re selective to who they talk to. You spend your time observing those around you long before you actually approach them to talk. Because of this, introverts already have determined the people they talk to have some value to add.
Introverts are also good networkers because they get to the point. You won’t waste someone’s time or drain either of your energy with irrelevant conversation. Do you also remember how we said introverts are great listeners? This means you also give others time to share. Being patient and listening are some truly beautiful skills everyone should learn. Finally, introverts make the best networkers because you follow up with intent. None of this flimsy or flakiness. Introverts won’t make contact and then leave someone hanging after distributing business cards. They’ll actually get back in contact with you!
To help you out, we have some networking tips that can be applied and used in all situations and work together for the good of your personal development, family and ultimately your business. This is just our little guide to self-promotion for introverts and networking for introverts.
Networking Tips for Introverts
1. For our first bit of networking advice, we give you the eye contact tip: If someone is looking at you from across the room, it’s safe to approach. You know yourself if you want to connect to someone, you make eye contact with them. This means you are comfortable with them approaching you. The same advice goes both ways, if someone makes eye contact with you it’s ok to approach them!
2. Our second piece of introvert advice is listen, ask questions and THEN bring in your insights. Remember how we said your patience and listening are your strengths? Well, we mean it! So now use them with this second tip of listening, THEN asking questions and THEN giving your input. This signals to people you are absolutely interested in what they have to share and offer. This also, hopefully, will elicit the same response from them when you are talking. Remember, you're there to listen and to understand, not to reply.
3. If you are nervous about networking, questions are ama-a-zing! They are the things you can fall back on in a sudden nervous moment. Ask them about things you have in common. Marsha Shandur said “This is what networking actually is, talking to people you like about things that you’re interested in.” The good thing about questions is you don’t have to do all of the talking. They just give you their ideas.
4. ALWAYS send “nice to meet you” communications. It’s that little bit of stuff we talked about earlier--introverts actually follow up! So do just that, make those connections meaningful by sending a quick email, Facebook message, Tweet or even a text to say “Hey, it was really nice meeting you! I would love to follow up with you on . . . ” By doing this, you can pick up your acquaintance down the road.
5. As our final professional networking tips for introverts, we would say be available for questions and concerns. Trade your own information and let them know you are available for any extra information. You can easily do this after talking to them or in your follow-up “nice to meet you” communication.
Along with these networking skills, we have a little more advice we want to give in this quick guide to networking. Our next focus is on pre-networking. You can see this as the warm-up phase of networking for introverts. The following tips are the things you can do in the comfort of your home.
Learn to appreciate and embrace introversion rather than repudiate it. Focus on your strengths. Stop thinking you can’t do something because you’re an introvert, or that being an introvert is a bad thing. IT’S NOT! It’s just DIFFERENT!!! And it comes with some of the most wonderful strengths. As an introvert you are one of the best networkers. Remember what Marsha said? Oh Marsha, Marsha, Marsha. She hit the nail on the head. And remember that even though introverts might be shy or reserved, they are some of the best communicators in the world! Just go back up and read all those things we talked about at the start of this little guide to introvert networking.
To follow, our next little bit of introvert relationship advice is to be ready to apply these reasons we just talked about to any situation. These tips aren’t good just for networking. They can be used just about anywhere: at the gym, store, school or work. Making connections may not come easy to you professionally or not, but you’d be surprised at how easy all of our tips can be used in any and every situation. Setting up playdates for the kids, meeting new members at church, even just interacting with your own friends.
As a third bit of pre-networking advice to help you prepare, we say it’s important to have an understanding, beforehand, of what your end goal will be for each communication. Knowing your end goal before you approach someone can help you formulate your questions before you approach. Some of these goals can be to invite someone to join your T.E.A.M. or invite them to host a Pop-Up. Other end goals include inviting someone to shop at your pop-up or follow you on social media to get the inside scoop. A goal can be any other situation in which you can help BLESS someone’s life with your business. Remember Bless Not Impress.
As you prepare, some other things you can think about are what you can do to improve your initial interaction with others. Be inviting; smile. Let your personality and light shine as you begin your conversations with others. Don’t worry about saying something clever. Be yourself and see people as people. Focus on what you both have in common and you’ll start to see and understand how you can better help them. Maybe you’re both at the store or both wearing the same shoes or have the same purse. Maybe even both your kids are being pretty silly on the playground. It’s easy to say “love your shoes” or “glad my kid’s not the only one.”
Some other pre-networking tips for introverts can include thinking about what you can do to feel comfortable and confident throughout your conversations with others. Have some questions prepared--they show your genuine interest in others and everyone loves to talk to someone who is genuinely interested in them. And of course, remember YOU don’t have to do all the talking!
- Just a few other key things to remember as you network with others:
- Don’t feel like you have to fill a certain time limit. It can be a quick chat.
- Keep it natural and comfortable; don’t feel like it has to be professional all the time. RELAX.
- Be present. Give your full attention to the person you are speaking to and put your phone down.
- Our final bit of networking tips for introverts is in wrapping up your experience:
- Be sure to connect with them on social media if possible. Remember to send a follow up “nice to meet you” message. This helps continue your acquaintance with them and helps develop it into a friendship. It also provides a natural transition for you to reach out to them down the road and invite them to shop at or host your next Pop-Up.
- Give them a reason to be excited to hear from you again: offer to bless their life or strengthen their family in a way that best fits your capabilities and capacity. If you’re trying to find a Pop-Up host, talk about your WHY and how them participating can bring them the same kind of joy it brings you.
- Take time to re-energize and reflect. This will help you keep on track better than anyone else.
To wrap up, always remember to tie all of these experiences back to your WHY. This is what will most help you connect to people and develop those necessary relationships to grow your business. Remember, developing your business will require interactions with others in various situations, but as you embrace your introverted personality, you’ll find these experiences to be much more fun than you first realized And of course, always remember to "Be genuine with your compliments and try to see the potential in EVERYONE."