So, what is an introvert? Introvert comes from Latin intro-, “inward,” and vertere, “turning.” It describes a person who tends to turn inward mentally. Introverts sometimes avoid large groups of people, feeling more energized by time alone. The opposite of an introvert is an extrovert, who finds energy in interactions with others and is very comfortable networking in small or large groups. Many people define introverts as shy, rude, dislike talking, anti-social, retiring, unlikable, reclusive, aversion to public speaking, cubicle-loving hermits, but in reality they are just thoughtful, introspective, deep-thinking people, who think before they speak and need some time alone to recharge. They focus on developing close relationships rather than numerous superficial relationships. That is the sign of a good networker. By the way, dislike of public speaking can apply to extroverts also.
Do you know of any introverts? How about Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, Albert Einstein or Steve Jobs? On the Houston scene, how about best-selling authors, speakers, and coaches like Jonathan Sprinkles and Michele Scism? When they are on the stage, even though they are introverts, they exhibit traits of extroverts and are some of the best networkers (connectors) around. They are also goal oriented, motivated, and excel in many fields rather than the generally accepted definition for introverts. Introverts make up anywhere from 25% to 50% of the population and you’ll find many in careers such as accounting, engineering, IT, writing, and research.
Are you an introvert? Psychology Today says there are a number of behavioral signs of introversion. See how many you feel honestly apply to you:
- You enjoy having time to yourself. Spend time reading, playing video games, or just listening to music.
- Your best thinking occurs when you’re by yourself. Time on a problem allows you to make the maximum use of your ability to engage in original thought.
- You lead best when others are self-starters. Introverted leaders will draw the most potential out of them.
- You’re the last to raise your hand when someone asks for something from a group. Sit back and let others take center stage.
- Other people ask you your opinion. Keep their views to themselves and let the noisy extraverts take control.
- You often wear headphones when you’re in a public situation. Like you used to keep your head down and look straight in front of you.
- You prefer not to engage with people who seem angry or upset. You’re likely to try to avoid people who seem like they might be in a bad mood.
- You receive more calls, texts, and emails than you make, unless you have no choice. You don’t reach out voluntarily to your social circles.
- You don’t initiate small talk with salespeople or others with whom you have casual contact. People don’t really know how you’re feeling or thinking.
So when it comes to networking, introverts will attend more morning sessions to develop relationships or lunch meeting for education rather than evening social meetings. If you are an introvert, one of the best conversation topics is to introduce yourself as an introvert so the other person can know how to relate to you better. Good advice is to listen 70% of the time and introverts are good listeners. Whether networking to locate a job, develop connections, or build business relationships, here are some ideas for introverts:
All business is about relationships and networking is an integral part of relationships. They say no man is an island and there is a longing for a belonging and networking can fill that requirement. Networking can occur anywhere rather than just at networking events. Consider dining, dancing, sports activities, school functions, etc. Some introverts could be intimidated with networking meetings, but they must participate anyway, because it is an integral part of connecting for success. Networking events are never the place to sell anyway. All you want is the appointment, a change to meet one-to-one to see how you can help each other build your businesses.
Introverts are especially good at being friendly without making the other person feel uncomfortable and with following up after meeting someone. Making connections with people who have a lot in common with you is important and introverts do a better job of being selective, Accoring to Swiss Psychiatrist Carl Jung, no one is an introvert or extrobert, rather a combination. Understanding the opposite personality type in a new and positive light is the key to developing good relationships with mutual respect for long term success..
To learn more read Networking For Introverts by Rob Brown or Susan Cain’s book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking,
Watch for next month’s article on extroverts!