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.
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.