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Networking on the Introvert's side of the Room
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Networking on the Introvert's side of the Room


These days, networking is essential. It's how employers fill 70 percent of their job openings, and well-connected UX professionals earn higher incomes. …

These days, networking is essential. It's how employers fill 70 percent of their job openings, and well-connected UX professionals earn higher incomes.

But with most networking activities geared towards extroverts, what are Introverts—who often find being around other people draining—to do?

It turns out that many characteristics that define an introvert also make them wonderful networkers. Introverts are comfortable making one-on-one connections, they know how to develop meaningful relationships and they're excellent listeners. Introverts just need to align their networking activities with their innate strengths.

In this session, I'll share the tools that have enabled me to grow my network without changing my introverted personality. If you're intimidated by our extroverted world, this session will guide you toward your own networking success.

This talk will help UX professionals:

leverage existing communication skills that work well for an introvert
learn how to choose appropriate networking events
maintain the network by focusing on helping others

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  • Advancing career is top of mindNetworking is part of the strategyThis can be challenging for introvertsPersonal story about attending a 300 person event, did not know anyone, approached by a career coach
  • When they interact with people for extended periods of time, they often feel drained and need to spend time alone to recharge. This distinguishes them from extroverts who get their energy from being with people and feel drained when they are aloneMy pointsYou are not alone You don’t have to change your personality
  • Ux is leverages an introverts traits One-on-one and small group activitiesUses scriptsLots of listening and observing
  • A major reason is to network is to find jobs. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 70% of jobs are found through networking Also, to hire people, find out about tools, etc…It is not going around the room collecting business cardsIt is not something you do only when you need a jobIt is more like a savings account - something you are depositing into over time
  • 150 maximum number of contacts we can effectively maintain relationships British anthropologist Robin DunbarMaintaining the network is actually an easy thing for introverts as they often have high quality but fewer relationships than extroverts Path limits your contacts to 150 for this reason.The network is effective if it only takes a few calls to do what you need to do or learn.
  • Although there seems to be a misalignment with traditional networking activities, my premise is that introverts can leverage their strengths and network effectively through other ways.
  • Introverts tend to live on the Internet and are often members of online communities.
  •   Meet Caroline Jarrett.
  • Mark Barratt, influential UK-based information designer, suggested that should sign up for a usability list serv.
  • Once on there, shefound that people asked questions about forms now and then, and because she wanted to position myself as a forms expert (and had been working on usability of forms for some several years by then), sheride to make sure that I always answered or commented on those topics-          Through being on the list, shemade friends and created collaborations with many people: Whitney Q isone of them.
  •   One of the people on the list was Jakob Nielsen; he suggested that sheshould write a book on forms.      
  • Gerry Gaffney was also on the list. He posted about the need for a book on forms and some ideas about what should be in it. She persuaded him to join her in writing the book – Forms that Work. Gerry is now a friend.   
  • Caroline also met Ginny Redish through the list; she’s became a mentor and she suggested that sheshould write a book on surveys.
  • Caroline is now working with Lou Rosenfeld to publish her survey book.
  • Key point : It leverages an introverts ability to constantly monitor online discussions and provides them with a non-threatening environment in which to interact    Pick your favorite on-line communityAnswer questions easier ones often ask for a tool or reference As you feel more comfortable engage in discussions “retweet” or “like” postsPick a few people and try to engage with them directly
  • Consider events in public places that enable you to bring a friend, spouse or even a pet (i.e. the Philly CHI joint UX picnic, IxDA Columbus Pancake Chat, IxDA NYC Shake Shack event)
  • Key point: these events that will give introverts a chance to be in a low-key environment
  • Choose activity based events.Example: the annual UK UPA pub quiz is very popular Also, map attack at Websvions, Geocaching, hackathonsThere is usually enough activity to support small talk without much pressure
  • Key point: these events that will give introverts a chance to engage in the type of one-on-one or small group activities Choose activity based events that sound fun to youSign-up early – these events often have limited slotsCome prepared to participate Arrive early so you can choose your group or partner
  • Key point: volunteering in this way connects you with other volunteers who are active in the professional group and gives introverts an ice breaker to leverage when connecting with attendees at the events Get involved in ways that work for an introvert We've all heard volunteering is great for networking. But we might be nervous about the group or time commitment. Volunteer for the sign-in table for an event you want to go to anyway This is a perfect task for introverts It's very structured - the table is your ice breakerYou don't have to talk much unless you want toThis gives you the chance to see the attendee list and greet a person you've wanted to connect with meet every single person attending the event, including the featured speaker chat in an informal way with other sign-in or greeter volunteersBonus: volunteers may get event discount****** Major point: volunteers often share a drink or meal afterwards with the guest speaker- again this leads to smaller scale networking Now, at the post-event meal - you have the event to chat about and might meet a UX rockstar!
  • Maintain the network by focusing on helping othersAlways offer your resources. Key point: Introverts can leverage skills they often use elsewhere to develop meaningful relationships and maintain their networks
  • Articles/sitesIntroverts and Networking stack - http://www.delicious.com/stacks/view/SGARznThe Power of Introverts http://www.thepowerofintroverts.com/community/resources/BookNever Eat Alone: And Other Secrets to Success, One Relationship at a Time by Keith Ferrazzi and Tahl Raz UX OrganizationsInteraction Design Association (IxDA) http://www.ixda.org/local/networkUsability Professionals' Association (UPA) http://www.upassoc.org/chapters/index.htmlUX events on Twitter@finduxevents@UX_NYC


  • 1. Networking on the introvert’s side of the room Michele Marut Senior User Researcher, Intuit@michelemarut | #uxintroverts
  • 2. Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/interlace-invent/3554085872/sizes/l/in/photosA typical networking event@michelemarut | #uxintroverts
  • 3. Introverts• Are everywhere• Prefer small groups• Recharge alone@michelemarut | #uxintroverts
  • 4. Credits: UX Stencil © Todd Zazelenchuk & Elizabeth Bo@michelemarut | #uxintroverts
  • 5. Networking• Relies on relationships other 30%• Many uses networking 70% Methods of finding jobs - Bureau of Labor Statistics@michelemarut | #uxintroverts
  • 6. Dunbar’snumber150 = Maximumnumber of people withwhich we can maintainrelationships@michelemarut | #uxintroverts
  • 7. FOUR WAYS INTROVERTS CAN BUILDTHEIR NETWORK@michelemarut | #uxintroverts
  • 8. 1. Engage in online communities@michelemarut | #uxintroverts
  • 9. @michelemarut | #uxintroverts
  • 10. @michelemarut | #uxintroverts
  • 11. @michelemarut | #uxintroverts
  • 12. @michelemarut | #uxintroverts
  • 13. @michelemarut | #uxintroverts
  • 14. @michelemarut | #uxintroverts
  • 15. @michelemarut | #uxintroverts
  • 16. 1. Engage in online communities• Jump in• Share your knowledge• Engage@michelemarut | #uxintroverts
  • 17. 2. Attend low key events Credits: AIGA Philly@michelemarut | #uxintroverts
  • 18. 2. Attend low key events• Go casual• Bring your favorite people• Step away (if you need to recharge)@michelemarut | #uxintroverts
  • 19. 3. Attend activity-based events Credits: @UKUPA@michelemarut | #uxintroverts
  • 20. 3. Attend activity-based events• Pick fun things• Act early@michelemarut | #uxintroverts
  • 21. 4. Volunteer at the event Credits: @nycupa@michelemarut | #uxintroverts
  • 22. 4. Volunteer• Work the sign-in table• Chat with volunteers• “Stalk” attendees• Use your backstage pass@michelemarut | #uxintroverts
  • 23. NOT DONE YET ….REMEMBER TO MAINTAIN THE NETWORK@michelemarut | #uxintroverts
  • 24. Offer your resourcesThe more you trade, thebetter your chances ofvictory. Even if it is notyour turn, you shouldoffer trades to thecurrent player!Settlers of Catan game rules Credit: http://engtech.wordpress.com/2007/01/15/settlers-of-catan-board-game-is-coming-to-xbox-liv@michelemarut | #uxintroverts
  • 25. Do…• Engage in on-line communities• Attend more low-key events• Choose events with activities• Volunteer at the eventRemember!• Offer your resources• Always feel free to step away from the group and take breaks or go home@michelemarut | #uxintroverts
  • 26. Challenge• Try one technique a month for four months• Tweet me @michelemarut with #uxintroverts tag and your progress@michelemarut | #uxintroverts
  • 27. Resources• Articles/sites – Introverts and Networking stack - http://www.delicious.com/stacks/view/SGARzn – The Power of Introverts http://www.thepowerofintroverts.com/community/resources/• Book – Never Eat Alone: And Other Secrets to Success, One Relationship at a Time by Keith Ferrazzi and Tahl Raz• UX Organizations – Interaction Design Association (IxDA) http://www.ixda.org/local/network – Usability Professionals Association (UPA) http://www.upassoc.org/chapters/index.html• UX events on Twitter – @finduxevents – @UX_NYC@michelemarut | #uxintroverts