Power Connecting (Networking) for Introverts

July 23rd, 2014

Recently Susan Roane, author of How to Work a Room, contacted me when she heard about my forthcoming book on how to be a power connector. We had a great conversation in which she told me that the number one question people ask is, “I’m shy—how do I network?”

Most psychologists agree that anywhere from 30 to 50 percent of people in the U.S. can be classified as introverts. I too used to be part of that group: growing up I was a tall, awkward girl who did her best to shrink into the background in every social situation. But there’s something interesting about many of us introverts: because we don’t talk a lot, we are often very observant. We watch what people do and how they interact.

That’s exactly what I did all through high school and college, and in my first job. I watched people and learned about who they were, what they wanted, and how others successfully “broke the ice” with them in social situations. And then I tried a few things that helped me get past my initial reluctance (okay, fear) so that I could reach out to the people I wanted to meet.

Today when someone tells me they can’t network because they’re shy or introverted, I offer four suggestions that can help turn reluctant introverts into successful power connectors.

1. Realize that every important person in your life was once a stranger.

“Stranger danger” is a fallacy. After all, your best friend, first crush, spouse, mentor, co-worker, or teammate were strangers when you first met them. Whenever you think about networking, imagine that the next person you meet might turn out to be one of your closest friends.

TUNE IN TO THE NEXT SESSION TO LEARN WHAT THE NEXT SUGGESTIONS IS…

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