How introverted personalities can use extroverted skills for networking 2012


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The best go-to guide for introverts who want to excel in job and career transition and/or growth.

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How introverted personalities can use extroverted skills for networking 2012

  1. 1. How Introverted Personalities Can Use Extroverted Skills for Networking © BY: CB Bowman, CEO Executive Leadership, LLC. 1
  2. 2. How Introverted Personalities Can Use Extroverted Skills for Networking ©No matter how networking is described,introverted job searchers think that they areterrible at it. They often ask themselves,“What if I’m rejected?” or “What should I sayor start a conversation?” If you are in thisgroup, recognize that fear of networking iskeeping you from cultivating the rightcontacts. Here are 30 tips to develop yournetworking skills. 2
  3. 3. How Introverted Personalities Can Use Extroverted Skills for Networking ©1. Be the keeper of information.One solution to this dilemma involvespositioning yourself so that people approachyou—they have to come to you forinformation, not the other way around. If youserve on a committee where your knowledgeis important to its members then people willseek you out. They you can more easily leadthe conversation towards your career goals. 3
  4. 4. How Introverted Personalities Can Use Extroverted Skills for Networking ©2. Join associations.Try joining associations and serving on a committee so that you have something in common with its members. It willmake it easier for you to start a conversation since you will have goals in common. Some of the best committees toserve on include: programming, membership and public relations; you want to select a committee that will encourageyou to move beyond your comfort zone and into a new reality.The best source for finding a list of associations is the “The Encyclopedia of Associations” which is a comprehensivesource of detailed information on over 162,000 nonprofit membership organizations worldwide. The Encyclopedia ofAssociations database provides addresses and descriptions of professional societies, trade associations, laborunions, cultural and religious organizations, fan clubs, and other groups of all types. Forget trying to buy It, Amazonsells the three out of the 4 volume series for $2,040.00! I recommend using your public library as a source forobtaining these books.It is important to go to meetings regularly. It might take up to 6 months for people to start recognizing you and sayinghi and it may be uncomfortable when you first attending, but just concentrate on what you are learning. If you keepshowing up, month after month (by the way remember that it’s OK to be quiet in the first couple of meetings)eventually, you’re going to recognize other “regulars,” and you’ll feel generally more comfortable. You’ll soon becommunicating without focusing on it. 4
  5. 5. Can Use Extroverted Skills for Networking3. Use your natural style.Surprisingly, I advise you to learn to useyour natural style when attending events sothat you don’t appear to be a fake. However,here is the trick, try to attend events with anextroverted colleague who will involve you inthe conversations. You might even plan astrategy before you go. For example discusswho you want to meet and how long youwould feel comfortable holding aconversation. Your colleague can“professionally” interrupt you to introduceyou to someone else when you give asignal. 5
  6. 6. Can Use Extroverted Skills for Networking4. Introduction plus!Another strategy to use at events is to askpeople you know to not only introduce youbut also join the conversation until it getsrolling! 6
  7. 7. How Introverted Personalities Can Use Extroverted Skills for Networking ©5. Getting the conversation started.A major concern for introverts is how to keepthe conversation going. If the person you aretalking to is an extrovert this will not be aproblem. However, if you are talking to anintrovert then ask them about themselves.Ask about how they landed their currentposition — this may provide an important tipfor your search. Also ask them about theircareers, specifically what projects they arecurrently working on and what are the prosand what are the obstacles. Ask about theirfamily, what professional associations theybelong to and why. Listen carefully foropportunities to help them — perhaps it willbe something that will add to your skills or atleast it will be an opportunity for you tonetwork with others! 7
  8. 8. Can Use Extroverted Skills for Networking ©6. Research or puzzle solving.Think of it as research to gather information,not networking!Introverts tend to love solving puzzles. So werecommend that they look at networkingevents as a puzzle they are trying to solve —which pieces will fit into their job searchpuzzle and how will they fit together. 8
  9. 9. How Introverted Personalities Can Use Extroverted Skills for Networking ©7. Use Technology.If you are uncomfortable using any of thesuggestions for face-to-face networking trysocial networks like LinkedIn or Twitterwhich are also great for networking. The“people search” feature of LinkedIn can beused to reconnect with people that youhadn’t heard from in years. Another greataspect of Linkedin is their list of professionaluser groups which you may join to increaseyour networking contacts significantly.Twitter is also very helpful. You can do aTwitter search for a topic you’re interestedin, and start following people who’s tweetsyou find interesting. You can then visit theirblogs, leave comments and startconversations. If you get to know them well,you can then ask them to join your LinkedInnetwork.There are also live chats, podcastand webinars although less interactive theyare an opportunity to gain professionalknowledge which will help you with starting aconversation at events. 9
  10. 10. Can Use Extroverted Skills for Networking8. Analyze your results.Introverts who are intuitive and analyticalcan use these skills to determine what isworking and what isn’t? The numbers canalso help to determine where they get themost bang for their buck?9. Practicing the art of networking.Working with an executive coach or careercounselor is very helpful, we at ExecutiveLeadership, LLC have seen a markedimprovement with our clients, as we coachthem in the art of networking. it is not unlikethe work we do helping our clients toprepare for an interview. 10
  11. 11. Can Use Extroverted Skills for Networking ©10. Find someone who is alone.You know there are many other people whohate to “work a room.” They are probably theones standing alone, with a drink in theirhand, wishing the whole thing was over! Goup to them and say hello! You may find akindred spirit and maybe a new networkingfriend. 11
  12. 12. Can Use Extroverted Skills for Networking11. Don’t dominate one person withyour conversation.Introverts typically enjoy deep conversations,not small talk. If you do have the opportunityto get involved in a conversation withsomeone, make sure that you are mindful oftheir time and body language to know when itis time to move on. Most people attendnetworking events to circulate and touchbase with several people, so be sure youdon’t keep someone a hostage. Instead havea short memorable conversation thenexchange business cards. Then make a noteon the back of their business card, what youspoke about so that it is easier to reconnect. 12 Painting by Copyright © John Heine, 1995
  13. 13. Can Use Extroverted Skills for Networking12. Do cool things.Introverts typically don’t like to talk aboutthemselves – we (yes, I’m highlyintroverted!) prefer to talk about ideas. Forceyourself to discuss some of the things you’vedone. Don’t brag, make sure they arerelevant to the conversation. Then theextroverts can remember you and moreimportantly talk about you while passingalong your achievements. Yes, I realize youwould rather be accepted for what you thinkand know, but the truth is that the worldmeasures you by what you accomplish. 13
  14. 14. Can Use Extroverted Skills for Networking13. Help others.For instance, send leads to jobseekers youknow. You don’t have to talk to them, butthey’ll remember the favor and view you as afriend. Try maintaining a list of specializedjob sites that you can use to obtain job leadsfor friends who have recently lost jobs. Theywill be grateful for his help and the time itsaves them. 14
  15. 15. 14. Don’t spend too much worrying.If you exhaust yourself out, you won’t everwant to network. Accept your limitations andjust do 1 or 2 events a month. It takes a longtime to build these relationships, so it’sbetter to stick with a few groups over thelong haul verses 10 groups for two months. 15
  16. 16. How Introverted Personalities Can Use Extroverted Skills for Networking ©15. Find the “gatekeepers” in thenetwork.Don’t make it your goal to meet one personwho can only introduce you to one otherperson or worse yet someone who doesn’tknow anyone. Instead network with agatekeeper, someone who knows severalpeople. If networking wears you out, you willbe better off finding five gatekeepers whoknow ten other people, than trying to findand maintain relationships with fifty people.While this strategy does takes a long time tounfold because it may be difficult to find theright person, the payoff is quite high. Twosuggestions, try to look for introverts that arein jobs that force them to be well connectedor extroverts that share you connect with. 16
  17. 17. How Introverted Personalities Can Use Extroverted Skills for Networking ©16. Host an event.By hosting a meeting, business event, orparty you can focus on your objectives, aswell as the comfort and ease of your guestsrather than focusing on yourself. However,be sure to serve food and drinks that areplentiful but that are also no brainers so thatyou are not hiding in the kitchen, forexample, try bow-tie pasta with severaldifferent sauces, which guest can helpthemselves to, along with a glass of wine.For a meeting try a salad where the guestcan choose their own toppings and dressing. 17
  18. 18. How Introverted Personalities Can Use Extroverted Skills for Networking ©17. Be sure to have a plan.Be very clear about what you want to getfrom any interaction. Ask yourself, what isthe ideal outcome for this interaction, howdoes it look, and what are the specific thingsthat I want to happen? 18
  19. 19. How Introverted Personalities Can Use Extroverted Skills for Networking ©18. Arrive early to events andmeetings.Make it a habit to arrive very early to eventswhen only a few people have arrived. It ismuch easier to meet people when you arriveearly verses if you arrive after the majority ofthe guest have arrived and have alreadyformed groups where conversations havestarted.Another advantage to arriving early is tohave an opportunity to meet the people whoorganized the event. They could introduceyou to some of the other guest. Anothertactic to use is to introduce other people toone another, it will take the pressure off ofyou and you can use “active listen skills” tojoin in the conversation. 19
  20. 20. How Introverted Personalities Can Use Extroverted Skills for Networking ©19. Use your skills and knowledge.Focus on ways that you can help others with yourtalents and skills. Being an introvert does notmean that you are not talented and skillful. On thecontrary, you could be a valuable commodity tojust the right person! The key here, is to use thoseskills to help others, while helping yourself. A greatway to start is by having a memorized list ofquestions as related to your kills when talking topeople. This way, you will know who can benefitthe most from your skill set.20. Smile!Smiling not only makes you more approachable,but it’s also a psychological tool to make yourselffeel better. You’ll feel more confident andeveryone will be able to see it! 20
  21. 21. Can Use Extroverted Skills for Networking ©22. Remember to breathe.Chances are that, at some point, nerves oranxiety will kick in, especially in places thatcan feel overwhelmed due to noise and/oractivity.  If you feel your heart rate kick up,take a deep breath to collect yourself.Retreat to a quiet area for a few minutes, ifneeded. Being in highly active spaces candefinitely be stressful so be sure to take timefor yourself, even if only for 5 minutes at atime, to reenergize. 21
  22. 22. How Introverted Personalities Can Use Extroverted Skills for Networking ©23. Make eye contact.It can be a challenge to maintain eyecontact. The natural human instinct is toavert your eyes when feeling uncomfortable.Make sure to keep reminding yourself tomaintain focus on the person or group youare interacting.  Remember while this isdefinitely different between cultures, here isthe United States not making eye contactcan be interpreted as rudeness or boredom. 22
  23. 23. How Introverted Personalities Can Use Extroverted Skills for Networking ©25. Hold something in your hand.If you notice that you fidget a lot, try holdinga cup of water, your conference booklet, or apad of paper in your hand. This will keepyour hands occupied and allow you to stayfocused on the conversation. I would notrecommend holding any type of phone,Blackberry, Droit, I-touch or any otherelectronic device which would tag you as asocially incompetent. 23
  24. 24. How Introverted Personalities Can Use Extroverted Skills for Networking ©26. Forget your 30-second or 60-second elevator pitch.You’ve probably heard about the elevatorpitch, but that’s not how you introduceyourself! The reality is that you only haveabout 6 seconds to introduce yourself! Youneed a good short personal brandingstatement. Mine is: “Hi, I’m CB, my companyExecutive Leadership, LLC can help youbecome more successful.” If yours is crispand interesting, you will be invited to giveyour pitch. 24
  25. 25. How Introverted Personalities Can Use Extroverted Skills for Networking ©27. Try public speaking!Ironically, many introverts are great platformspeakers, and great performers. They tendto be more comfortable talking to a roomfulof people than networking one-on-one. Oneof the key benefits of being a speaker is thatpeople come to you for networking, so it’sreally easy to establish new relationships. 25
  26. 26. How Introverted Personalities Can Use Extroverted Skills for Networking ©28. Don’t assume the worst.Dont think that youre bothering people.Most people will be glad to hear from youespecially if you have something interestingto say or if you are introduced to them by amutual friend or colleague.29. Where do you start?Start by relying on your supporters. Networkfirst with mentors, close colleagues, andfriends. 26
  27. 27. How Introverted Personalities Can Use Extroverted Skills for Networking ©30. Make the most of what you know.Take the time to read an industry newsletterbefore attending a business or social eventor in preparation for an informationalinterview with a contact, so that you will becomfortable sharing the tidbits you havelearned. 27
  28. 28. How Introverted Personalities Can Use Extroverted Skills for Networking ©One finale point to remember, it is estimatedthat 90% of the CEO’s in America areintroverts! These introverts have learnedhow to approach the world as though it is agiant stage, one where they can get on toact and off to be themselves.Feel free to visit us at for additionalcareer tips or visit us on Facebook atExecutive Leadership, LLC 28