I have never thought of myself as a great networker – in fact, I am one of those people that likes to avoid bigger crowds and enjoys a one-to-one conversation without too much background noise. That’s where I feel I can truly connect with people, and this type of connection feels very nourishing to me.
Networking is a big part of developing your business, so how do you go about this as an introvert?
First of all, there are a lot of qualities that many introverts don’t really know they have. Introverts tend to focus on the subtleties of communication. They look at details, body language, they can quickly create a correct and holistic image of the person they are talking to and whether they would like to connect with this person.
Introverts process greater volumes of information in any given situation. It is for this reason that we tire more easily from overstimulation. Sound familiar?
We also choose our words carefully so others don’t have to wade through a river of entire thought processes to understand what we are saying. Introverts embody the old adage “you have two ears and one mouth for a reason”. We enjoy listening and taking everything in, both environmental and social subtleties. While others are yammering away, we’re taking everything in and processing it in our ever-active minds.
Altogether, others experience us as calm, authentic personalities and great listeners. In other words, great qualities for someone who is looking for a true connection.
It is important to know this about yourself, in order to see yourself as a gift to others rather than a “I don’t fit in anyway” person. What I often do before going to events with lots of people is to make sure my nervous system is strong enough, since I am very sensitive to noise, including hearing several conversations at the same time, which makes me lose my focus.
I meditate and make sure I am able to hold space for people rather than needing people to make me feel better. From that state, I can see myself as a gift to others and connect.
How do I connect with a person I don’t know?
Everyone is human and has a heart, and is deeply craving for true connection.
I am curious to who that other person is, how they feel and enjoy listening to them. By being very present and observant, they feel seen and heard. One of the first things that will make them remember you. They felt special in your presence. Then I find out how I can support them/ their business by asking the right questions. By the end of the conversation I’ve made a friend who will remember me.
Not everyone is open to connect on the same level though – introverts can often sense this. So, follow your gut, scan the room and feel into who you would like to be around. Make use of that radar and be a blessing to those you meet.
By Astrid Rooselaer, Area Coordinator, BOB Clubs Texas