One of the things that I am frequently told by people who declare themselves introverts is that they do not think they have it in them to be an effective networker. Whenever I hear a comment like that I grimace a little as one thing I have learned over time is that some of the mot successful people in the world who are introverts, could not have gotten to where they are without some effective networking. So with that in mind, I first ask someone who makes this type of comment what they think being an introvert means, then try to relate their story to the stories of others for a little inspiration.
I have found that introversion is frequently ill defined. Introversion is one of the major personality traits identified in many theories of personality. People who refer to themselves as introverts tend to be inward turning, or focused more on internal thoughts, feelings and moods rather than seeking out external stimulation. Introversion is generally viewed as existing as part of a continuum along with extraversion. Introversion indicates one end of the scale, while extraversion represents the other end.
I find when people are presented with knowledge of what introversion is, they understand that it is not a measure of outgoingness, it is rather a measure of how one gets energized, whether by being inward facing, or relying on external stimulation. Some people get very energized being in a room or 20-30 people at a networking event, for others (many of whom label themselves introverts), it does nothing for them. I tend to be one of those who does not get energized by a room, but rather I have to get myself pumped up before an event. I write about many techniques on how to do this. This chief item is to plan. Planning helps me to know how I will handle a room and be effective based on the goals I set.
Beyond that, however, I also like to take some inspiration in looking at some of the more famous successful introverts, knowing that they would not be able to be where they are without having their own plans of attack and being able to build effective relationships. Here are just a few who provide me that extra inspiration:
Al Gore – I mean, the man ran for President. You don’t become a successful politician without being good at networking.
Steven Spielberg – An amazing artist who had to network his way through Hollywood in order to hit the pinnacle.
Eleanor Roosevelt – One of the most dynamic first ladies ever who had a big impact this country.
Warren Buffett – Perhaps the most successful individual business man and philanthropist who people seek out to network with him!
Guy Kawasaki – An incredible motivational speaker and entrepreneur who seems like an extrovert but is a self proclaimed introvert.
Look up a little on each for some inspiration. And good luck out there!