The Quiet Networker

Posted by Keith Fowler (Insights from Black Isle Group) on Wednesday 31 January 2018

One of the credos for business success that you will often hear is: network, network, network. For an extrovert, this advice is welcome – extroverts are naturally good at walking into a room, assessing the mood and shaking hands with as many potential contacts as possible.

However, for an introvert this advice can seem like a harbinger of doom. Introverts naturally prefer to keep to themselves when in large groups, feeling more comfortable exchanging ideas with a small clutch of individuals. The idea of approaching a group of strangers can be very intimidating indeed. So, if you’re an introvert, how are you supposed to make the most of your networking possibilities if you dread the very idea?

Well, our Networking for Introverts event last week aimed to tackle this very challenge.  As well as creating the perfect setting that appealed to an introverted professional it was the perfect opportunity to upskill and expand their networks.  As well as the key advice shared on the day here are a few extra tips to help you introverts embrace your inner networking genius.

1. Practice makes perfect – If you were in an improv comedy troupe, you would run through different scenarios hundreds (if not thousands) of times. Why should a networking event be any different? Think of the experience as a chance to become an improv master. You don’t know exactly what the other people will say or do, but by practicing many different scenarios you can gain confidence and feel more comfortable. Think of a few standard openers that you can use – “what brings you here today?” is always a good one.

2. Search out local meet ups and networking events – Now that you have some ‘go to’ openers and feel more confident mingling with strangers, you need somewhere to go! Hop onto Google and start searching for “Best Blockchain Meet-ups in BLANK city,” or “Local Networking for FinTech professionals” etc.

3. Work on your elevator pitch – Continuing on from your basic openers and practice sessions, it’s time to really make a difference – you need to work on your elevator pitch. If you don’t have a strong and concise pitch, you are likely to blow your one shot with a potential mentor, client or colleague. You should have a 30 second intro in mind that succinctly explains who you are, what you do and why you are at the event. Here is a great YouTube playlist about crafting the perfect elevator pitch.

4. Be reasonable about your limits and pace yourself – If you are a natural introvert, you might find it quite exhausting to attend networking events. Rather than trying to be ‘on’ for the entire event, remember to take a few minutes now and then in order to take a breather and relax. Similarly, don’t attend too many networking events in any one month – pace yourself and know your limits. You should also choose only the most suitable and strategic events on which to focus your attention.

5. Follow up! – It seems like an obvious point, but so many people attend networking events and then never follow up with the people that they connected with. This means that all of their hard work and practice was for nothing! While you are at the event, collect business cards from everyone whom you connect with and jot down some notes on the back so that you can remember your conversation.

Over the next few days, connect with them on Twitter and LinkedIn. Then, take your annotated cards and send each person a personalised email.  “Hello, it was great to meet you at the BLANK EVENT. Your work/project sounds very interesting, and I would love to be involved in BLANK WAYS. Best regards, YOUR NAME.” Simple as that!

With these simple tips you can change your perspective about networking and start to leverage these events towards your success.