I resurrected this list from last year because it seems very timely to introduce the networking discussion at a time when ‘new solos’ – whether by choice or circumstance – are having to ramp up their efforts. Social media makes it easier, especially for those more shy but it doesn’t relieve them of having to engage in a meaningful way. Enjoy!
You’ve been told over and over again the way to get connections in the profession, drum up business, is network, network, network. You know I’m right. And you know for some people it is just so easy. They jump out there, do it as naturally as breathing. Yet you are more introverted, less comfortable in group situations, don’t know how to break the ice or get with the ‘in crowd.’ Honestly, don’t worry. But the question remains: how do you work with what you are to be successful as a solo practitioner?
First, before you go labeling yourself introvert and extravert (yes, that is the correct spelling), understand the difference and then realize you are what you are and you’re not going to change:
I’m going by the
definitions used by the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. According to the
MBTI, introverts get their energy from the internal world of ideas and
images, and they feel drained if they spend too much time with people.
On the other hand, extraverts (and yes, that IS the correct spelling as
used in the MBTI) get their energy from the external world of people
and things, and they go crazy if they spend too much time alone. It
really has nothing to do with social skills, as evidenced by introverts
like Jerry Seinfeld.
Whether you prefer the internal world or the external world, that
preference is fixed. You can force yourself to act outside of your
element, but an introvert can’t become an extravert and vice versa. (Pick the Brain)
So, how does one network if they are not an extravert? Are introverts disadvantaged as entrepreneurs in a profession which requires almost full throttle engagement?
If you feel you fall into the introverted category (and even if you don’t) here is a list of 25 great posts on networking for the shy which you need to take the time to read. It was compiled by The M.A.P. Maker:
In addition, I would recommend you absolutely read Endless Referrals by Bob Burg. (no affiliate commission) It is a brilliant book which lays to rest once and for all that networking, building a sphere of influence and creating relationships (both professional and personal) are not just the province of extraverts. Whatever you choose to label yourself, you need to read this book.
So, if you consider yourself more introverted, how have you been networking to bring in clients? Please share.