3 Strategies to Help You Network Meaningfully As an Introverted Entrepreneur
Business networking can often be a challenging task that introverted individuals usually try and avoid. Because introverts rely on solitude and quiet time to recharge, they are less likely to enjoy networking events which may drain their energy.
When networking is viewed as another investment of mental energy, it can be intimidating for introverted business owners. Introverts seek depth in their social engagements, so the idea of "selling yourself" to others may appear intimidating or arrogant. Introverts tend to favour building meaningful connections with other people rather than sharing surface-level conversations. Building relationships with other professionals, regardless of your personality, is essential in operating a successful enterprise.
So here are 3 strategies that will enable you to network meaningfully as an introverted entrepreneur:
1. Opt for One-on-One Meetings
Most individuals with introverted personalities tend to seek deep, meaningful, and genuine connections and believe that large group engagements are the wrong place to find them. Knowing when to push yourself to participate in them is essential, but there's nothing wrong with networking in smaller teams or separately or connecting with someone over a drink. Smaller groups, in fact, provide less opportunity for interference and more incentive for deeper conversations.
2. Take It One Step At A Time
Determine your comfort zone and establish a threshold for your interactions. Begin with a small group for a short period of time, then gradually push the limits as you become more comfortable. For example, you could tell yourself, "I'll only talk to two individuals for 10 minutes each and then leave."
Once you've completed this, and if you're still feeling comfortable, you can push it to three more people, perhaps for 30 minutes each. This keeps you in command and reduces what was a large and intimidating task to something minimal and practical.
3. Own Your Introversion
To build long-lasting business relationships, you must start from a genuine place, which means being your authentic, introverted self. It's natural to feel pressured to appear more friendly and charismatic in order to keep up with your more extroverted teammates, but putting on a show will only harm you in the long run. Don't be frightened to be who you are. People who share your values will gravitate toward you. It's normal for an introverted professional to feel overwhelmed by a loud office, a packed conference room, and social occasions.
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