Networking Habits to Embrace as an Introverted Leader
As an introverted leader, networking can feel daunting. However, there are networking habits you can embrace as a introverted leader. These habits can help shift your mindset and approach to leadership and ensure both success and purpose during networking.
For introverts, networking events can be a source of dread. The format itself—a crowd full of strangers hoping to make a strong impression—is anathema to those who flourish in environments that are quieter or feel less transactional.
“I am frequently asked how to build networks if you are an introvert and dislike networking events,” Raider says. “My impression is the people asking believe they just need to accept that building a business network is a necessary part of business, or that they simply need to figure out how to manage anxiety. Instead, introverts can learn to thrive in the experience more than they might ever have imagined. And their introversion can be harnessed as a networking superpower.”Holly Raider
Being an introvert shouldn’t hold you back from building up your networks. But what’s the best way to create those connections when it’s difficult to strike up a conversation with someone you don’t know?
Networking Habits to Embrace as an Introverted Leader
Embrace these habits to excel in building meaningful connections:
Focus On Meaningful and Intentional Interactions: Focus on building deep and authentic relationships with a few key individuals who share your values and goals. Engage and seek out smaller group settings where you can comfortably contribute, listen actively, and build stronger connections. Instead of large, overwhelming gatherings, seek smaller, focused events where you can engage in more intimate conversations. It’s an introvert’s networking sweet spot!
Prepare and Research: Prioritize preparation for networking events by researching attendees and topics of interest. It will boost your confidence and provide conversation starters. Focus on attending events aligned with your passions and professional interests. It allows you to connect with like-minded individuals and engage in meaningful conversations.
Active Listening: Engage in active listening during conversations. Ask open-ended questions and show genuine interest in others. It helps create rapport and fosters deeper connections. Use your listening skills to identify commonalities and connect others with shared interests. This positions you as a valuable resource and cultivates a supportive network.
Follow-Up with Personalized Messages: After networking events, follow up with personalized messages to maintain connections and one-on-one conversations. It shows your sincerity and strengthens the relationship.
Leverage Digital Platforms: Utilize social media and online communities to network on your terms. Share your insights, engage in conversations, and expand your professional circle.
Utilizing Your Introvert Super Powers
Don’t assume that being an introvert is an automatic mark against your networking potential.
“I’m convinced that qualities, which introverts seem to share—feeling like an outsider, being an observer, curiosity about the stories and situations of others—inform how I’ve made my way through life…My long-held theory is that introverts (and other unassuming people) are well suited to building a strong web of connections because of some distinctive characteristics we share.”Karen Wickre
In fact, introverts might even have an upper hand when it comes to networking. How so?
Introverts tend to be good observers: In a room filled with people, introverts are likely to spend more time observing than jumping from one conversation to another. This allows them to learn about people – through their actions, their energy – before they connect with them. This allows introverts to meet people where they’re at, putting them at ease, and setting the stage for a more comfortable exchange.
Introverts tend to be careful when speaking: Introverts tend to be more conscious about wasting someone else’s (and their) time. So, they carefully consider their opinions before speaking and get right to the point. This leads to more substantive discussions.
Introverts tend to be good listeners: In a networking context, most people are interested in promoting themselves and collecting as many contacts as possible. A mindset like this makes it difficult to forge a meaningful connection. Introverts, who are comfortable with silence, tend to give others space to express themselves. Their active listening skills allow them to have better conversations and therefore experience deeper connections.
The qualities above help introverts form a higher quality (rather than quantity) of relationships. Within the context of networking, your introverted nature can be your superpower.
Don’t take your introverted qualities for granted. Instead, use them to enhance the relationships and connections you make as a leader.
Accelerate Your Leadership Growth
Networking does not come naturally to everyone, and that’s okay! Everyone can and should approach networking in a way that feels natural and benefits them as individual.
Determine and embrace your strengths! And then leverage them to build better relationships. You need to be yourself and play to your own talents and what energizes you. This approach is in your best interest and ensures a successful and meaningful networking experiences.
Looking to accelerate your growth as a leader? Need help learning and embracing your strengths? Converge is here to help you unleash the power within and take your leadership to the next level! Reach out to our team today to learn how our leadership development coaching can help you!