What comes to mind when you hear the word introvert? Do you think of words like shy, quiet, sensitive, lonely, or unassertive? How about word networking? Do the words salesy, manipulative, uncomfortable, inauthentic, or scary come to mind? Many people think of introverts and networking in negative terms. I used to be one of those people. I remember when I first learned that I was an introvert. I was relieved that nothing was wrong with me; I just processed the world and social situations differently. I was ecstatic to learn that I wasn’t the only one who enjoyed solitude and that just because I liked being alone didn’t mean I was lonely. I appreciated knowing I wasn’t the only person with a small group of close friends (usually only 2 or 3 people) and whose energy gets drained by being around many people. I was happy to know that I wasn’t the only one who didn’t want to be the center of attention and would rather listen than speak.
When I tell people that I am an introvert, their first reaction is disbelief. I think their reaction is justified simply because people still do not understand what it means to be an introvert. Many introverts have yet to uncover what this means for how they appear in the world. For example, after reading my book The Introvert’s Guide to Becoming a Master Networking, one reader said, “I used to think that being an introvert was a disadvantage or some type of disability, but not anymore.” Another reader states, “Thanks, for making it cool to be an introvert.”
The Introvert’s Guide to Becoming a Master Networker is not just a guide filled with tips and stories but also challenges readers to act on what they are learning. Here are my top 3 tips that will help you to Network Like an Introvert:
According to one online dictionary, Personal Development consists of activities that improve awareness and identity, enhance the quality of life, and contribute to realizing dreams and aspirations. I appreciate this description of Personal Development because I believe in becoming comfortable and confident with networking; we introverts do well to look at our introversion as an asset rather than a liability, thus allowing us to connect with others.
Personal Development will help you share your story, thoughts, and feelings, which is a critical factor in networking as an introvert. People need and want to hear your voice. When you can connect more deeply with others, people will be drawn to you and willingly share their knowledge, expertise, experiences, and referrals.
Here’s what you can do to use Personal Development to help you Network Like an Introvert: schedule time to read, watch videos, and listen to educational recordings that contain information designed to help you to become a better version of yourself. The better you become, the more enjoyment you will find in sharing your story, thoughts, and feelings with others, thus growing your network.
I vividly remember the feeling that I had at my first networking event. Walking into a room full of strangers triggered my first panic attack. I had to leave the venue and go outside because I was hyperventilating, sweating profusely, and shaking, unlike anything I had ever experienced. After saying a quick prayer, I regained my composure enough to go back inside. I beelined it to the bathroom, then stood around the food stations, surveying the room. I felt so out of place, totally outside of my comfort zone.
To be entirely transparent, after over a decade on the business networking scene, I still experience that anxiety when invited to social gatherings and networking events. But I’ve come to understand that developing relationships and making new connections open doors to more opportunities, which are vital to accomplishing goals and enjoying life to the fullest. This realization has also led me to build Twisted Networking, an internationally recognized business networking organization.
Here’s what you can do to use Networking Events to help you Network Like an Introvert: set a goal to attend at least one networking event a month, find a networking buddy for in-person events, and register to attend a virtual Twisted Networking event at www.twistednetworking.com. Our team will ensure you leave the event optimistic about growing your network.
The Power of Your Smile
As I write this tip, I cannot help but have a smile on my face. I love to smile, and I love to see other people smile. I believe that smiling is the most underrated relationship-building tool in our toolbox. A smile has been coined as the “universal language.” A smile demonstrates confidence, makes you more attractive to others, invigorates other people, and can instantly change the mood in a room. There are even scientific links between good health, longevity, and smiling. Many people struggle with smiling, but smiling is the most uncomplicated technique to draw people to you and expand your network.
Here’s what you can do to use The Power of Your Smile to help you Network Like an Introvert: practice smiling at yourself whenever you look in a mirror, spend time with positive people, think about the good things in your life, and smile as often as possible.
I hope by now you realize that being an introvert is a good thing. True, we are not the loudest in the room, we are not always in the forefront, and we do not like being the center of attention, yet still, millions of us add tremendous value to society.
I also hope that you see networking as a positive thing that is good for your business, your life, and those around you. People need to know who you are, they need to know what you stand for, and they need to know how you are serving the community. The only way they will know you are is if you engage in some form of personal development daily to become the best version of yourself. Attend in-person and virtual networking events where you can meet new people and add value to each other. Easiest of all, when you use your natural ability to smile to connect with those around you, you will build a massive network like an introvert.
Jevonya Allen is commanding attention as the Creator and Chief Visionary Officer of Twisted Networking, an internationally recognized business networking organization. Known for her success as an author, a certified business consultant, and a networking coach, Jevonya’s mission is to teach people who are selling a product or service how to become skillful at building relationships that will result in both personal and professional growth. Jevonya’s clients range from entrepreneurs in the ideation phase to the alumni association for a top high school in the United States. Her book, The Introvert’s Guide to Becoming a Master Networker, is garnering much publicity as a must-read for entrepreneurs, startups, small business owners, network marketers, and sales teams. Jevonya recently received an Outstanding Leadership Award for her contributions to the fields of marketing and advertising. Jevonya’s digital course, Networking School, is positioned to transform many lives around the world.