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Networking for Introverts

By: Chris Barnes

 

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Other people are a great source of learning and information for any entrepreneur. Networking is a great way to meet fellow entrepreneurs, potential business partners, and customers alike. But while some people find networking to be a breeze, it’s not so easy for others. How does an introvert take advantage of networking opportunities?

If that sounds like a problem you’re dealing with, Lisa Petrilli, the CEO of C-Level Strategies, wrote “An Introvert’s Guide to Networking” for the Harvard Business Review Blog Network. While all too often extroverts write networking tips for fellow extroverts, this is an opportunity for the other half to get some advice.

We’d recommend you read the article, but here are a few of her main points:

  • Appreciate your introversion. Don’t think of introversion as something wrong with you; it’s a part of you, and it comes with its own strengths, including comfort in the world of ideas.
  • Focus on the one-on-one. When you’re at a networking event, you don’t have to talk to 200 people all at once. Instead, start personal conversations with one individual at a time. You can develop relationships even if you’re not comfortable interacting in large groups.
  • Make the first move. Don’t be afraid to go up to someone and introduce yourself. Social media makes this easier than ever, as you can connect online with people who will be at these events beforehand. Then when you meet in person, it can be more relaxed and productive since you’ve already “met” online.
  • Take time to recharge. Part of what defines introverts is that being around other people, particularly large groups, is a draining experience. Take time for yourself between events, so that you’ll be at your best every time.
Every person has strengths and weaknesses, and that’s why we can learn so much from each other. Networking isn’t just for extroverts, and it offers great opportunities for any business person.
Published: December 19, 2012
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Chris Barnes

Chris Barnes is the Director of Business Development at Tarkenton Companies, with a sales and marketing background in a wide range of industries, from sports information to insurance marketing. A jack-of-all-trades, Chris has experience in many aspects of daily and strategic operations for small business.

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