Social Distancing Networking Hacks For Introverts

Are you an introvert? If so, read.on. If you’re not, it’s OK to read on…

Be honest with yourself. How many of these situations can you relate to?

  • I feel “just right” with less stimulation
  • I’d rather take a vacation at the beach and relax with a book than go on a cruise
  • Prefer to work carefully and deliberately
  • Wish I was home when in social settings
  • I devote limited social energy with close friends, colleagues, and family

 INTROVERTS AT WORK IN THE WORLD OF SOCIAL DISTANCING

In the near past and to a limited extent, you’ve been able to network. You know the best way to get your name in front of customers and referral sources is by networking; attending networking events, joining professional or other organizations, or meeting one-on-one. If you’re an introvert and live in a world of social-distancing, you’ll need to come up with a different networking strategy.

Contrary to the idea that introverts crave limited social energy. But at this time of limited social and physical-distancing, introverts find themselves wanting more than their usual limited connection quota. And, they know when they’ve have had enough.

In a world of social-distancing, introverts can do more than just survive, they can thrive.
It’s easy for an introvert to adhere to social-distancing guidelines. It’s in their DNA.

ITS ALL ABOUT CONNECTION

Your first task is to connect. When you’re online or on the phone with colleagues, and prospective and current customers, start the conversation by asking them to tell you their personal social-distancing story. Chances are, they’ll initiate telling their story.  Be sure to ask open-ended questions about their story. Continue the conversation by talking about personal stuff rather than business stuff. As in a networking situation, you’re not pitching or selling anything. Your goal is to connect, period.

I have a weekly ZOOM call with one of my friends. We talk about anything and everything.

I’ve been calling and  Zooming some of my current clients every other week or so. One client prefers phone over ZOOM. Recently, we had a good laugh about professional wrestling (she recently misplaced her son’s plastic championship belt!) to sharing tips on how to do jigsaw puzzles.

If you are given the contact name of a potential customer, keep in mind that a one-on-one encounter works for you. You’re not shy, just introverted.

Here are some networking suggestions for all of you introverts:

  • Think twice about attending an online event, meeting, lecture, or social gatherings. You might feel overwhelmed by the format of the meeting.
  • LinkedIn is a perfect platform to reach out one-on-one. When was the last time you updated your LinkedIn profile?
  • You might be a member of a professional association or a business organization such as the local   Chamber of Commerce. Make sure your listing in their online member directory is updated.
  • For my Baby Boomer clients, I encourage them to join a listserv or two (These forums can be found on Google or Yahoo). Introverts find it comfortable just lurking in these forums
  • If you’re self-employed, update your website
  • If appropriate, write some new content on your website and send an email about how your business is adapting to the changing world of social-distancing.

It might be initially intimidating to venture into the realm of online networking, but you have to tools to do it.

Evan Leepson, MBA is a marketing and organizational development consultant.

Looking for an in-depth guide on Networking for Introverts? Read Critical Connections – The Step-by-Step Guide to Transforming Your Business Through Referral Marketing available at www.leepsonassociates.com and Amazon.

Giving Advice vs. Listening

Food For Thought:

People love to give advice. When someone gives you advice, the advice they give is most likely about what they need rather than what you need.

Recently, I sent a secure email to my doctor’s office asking for a call back so I could discuss the details about whether I need to get a new prescription since my current prescription’s refills ran out. After three days, I did not hear back from anyone from the doctor’s office. So, I called the office and demanded to talk to the administrator of the practice.

When I told the administrator about my frustration, she listened to my entire story and then profusely apologized. She then asked me about what was the best way to reach me. I said email. She said that she would put a note on in my electronic medial record reminding staff members to email me non-medical information.

At the end of this conversation, I felt listened to and had more confidence about the practice’s ability to respond to me.

Let’s try something:

  1. Briefly write down a dissatisfaction or frustration of a customer/client. Use either a real example or make one up.
  1. Next, write down three open-ended questions you might ask that dissatisfied customer. Do not ask a question that requires a “yes” or “no” answer. These questions should focus on what customer needs were not met.

Don’t under-estimate the power of asking questions. Asking questions:

  • Takes the pressure off of you to immediately solve the problem or give advice
  • Gives you time to think rather than react
  • Lets the customer know you are interested in him/her

Here are the three steps to help your enhance your business relation with a dissatisfied customer:.

  1. Listen to the complaint
  2. Emphasize with customer’s frustration
  3. Ask how you can meet their needs

I hope you do not have any dissatisfied customers. If you do, be prepared to listen, emphasize and ask a question. Read about how to be a good listener in Critical Connections.

Listening is a positive act. You have to put yourself out to do it.

-David Hockney