By Laura Morlando The Stress Commando, Founder and CEO of Down and Dirty Networking
A Surprising Fact About Introverts and Shyness
Did you know that Introverts make up an estimated 25% of the population to upward of 40% and in the U.S., Myers-Briggs found that 50.7% of Americans are introverts? As an introvert myself, I find that refreshing to know I’m not alone. What is surprising, is that the biggest misconception is that introversion is the same as shyness. Unfortunately, that is what I initially thought too. That being an introvert meant being shy. What I have since learned is that shyness is a lack of confidence whereas introversion is gaining power from within.
Introverts get overstimulated by spending time with people so networking drains us. And if an introvert happens to be shy as well, they lack the confidence to initiate a conversation while networking.
As an introvert, and someone who overcame shyness and social awkwardness to network effectively,
I have learned these 4 simple tips to network stress-free that you can use yourself…without having to spend the many years it took me to figure it all out!
- The #1 tool introverts can use to network to raise their reputational capital without depleting their energy.
Talk Less…Question More. Questions are powerful tools to learn from someone and about someone. Questions allow you to truly connect with those you are networking with. Questions demonstrate that you value, see, and hear others. This raises your Reputational Capital with those you are speaking to.
Reputational Capital is important because with every networking interaction you have you are either adding to or subtracting from your Reputational Capital. The only thing you can control is how you show up and how you are known. This IS your Reputational Capital.
I believe “Who you know and who knows you are important. How they know you is more important.”
The key to raising your Reputational Capital is to leverage questions. To kick off any networking conversation, I suggest having a few go-to questions in your toolbox.
For example, Instead of “What do you do?” Ask..”What do you love most about what you do?” Or as speaker Amanda Gore taught me, ask “What is the best thing that has happened to you recently?” This is one of my favorite questions to ask and works perfectly every time to open up a conversation to truly connect with someone new or reconnect with someone.
The best part is, that for me and my fellow introverts questions expend less energy and tap into our superpower of being good listeners. Which is a powerful way to be known!
- Why Relational Networking is the perfect fit for introverts and those that feel socially awkward.
The default understanding of Traditional or Transactional Networking is to sell and tell by saying your 30-second commercial or elevator pitch to exchange leads, sales, or jobs. What most people fail to realize is that there is another type of networking: Relational Networking focused on having meaningful conversations to build lasting relationships. This is a PERFECT fit for introverts and those that feel socially awkward, like me. This avoids being overstimulated with sales pitches, schmoozing, and talking to a lot of people in a speed dating kind of situation. Instead, we introverts can tap into our connectedness and thoughtful networker superpowers to have meaningful conversations to build lasting relationships more intimately and authentically.
- The perfect type of networking environment for introverts and a simple strategy to actually enjoy networking.
Introverts thrive in an online Relational Networking environment instead of online or in-person large meetings and events which can be overstimulating. There are 2 ways to engage in Relational Networking online: attending online events focused 100% on Relational Networking or utilizing social media platforms like LinkedIn, where introverts can be more thoughtful about their connections, reach outs, and follow-ups.
The best part is that when introverts combine their good listening skills by asking open-ended questions to learn from someone and about someone with the power of Relational Networking in an online environment, they thrive and actually enjoy networking without expending needless energy.
The key for introverts to enjoy networking is to schedule their networking. When it comes to online Relational Networking events, it is important to schedule time for the event and to schedule time to power up before and after the event. When it comes to social media Relational Networking, it only takes 5 minutes a day to reach out to expand and nurture your professional network. When scheduled, networking is less daunting, takes less time and energy, and makes connecting more enjoyable.
- How 360-degree perspectives can fuel an introvert’s superpowers and skyrocket their career or business.
Introverts have several superpowers, such as being good at thinking outside the box, overcoming challenges, being compassionate, and thinking before speaking or acting. So the more perspectives an introvert has, the more this fuels those superpowers to create a solution or generate an idea that benefits everyone. Creative ideas can skyrocket a career or business by injecting much-needed energy, direction, and problem-solving.
Studies show that networking is the most effective use of time, energy, and money to supercharge one’s career or business. According to LinkedIn, 80% of professionals consider networking vital to their career success.
So if you are an introvert like me, tap into your introvert superpowers and leverage these 4 simple tips to network more effectively and stress-free. You never know…you might find that you enjoy networking and are quite good at it too! Happy Networking!