Professional networking has long been recognised as a necessary skill for career and business progression. Now, thanks to the advancement of modern technology and the expansion of offers on the internet, you can easily make a business connection with someone halfway across the world. Business negotiations can take place over skype, and payments are easily processed by wire banking transfers, or other online payment gateways that allow secured transactions.
Whether in business or career, every one of us relies on the people around us, or our network, to get ahead. Take good care of your network and you can supercharge your career advancement or sky-rocket your business profits.
Does networking work well for everyone? Most likely not!
Let me explain.
I have found 3 groups of people when it comes to networking:
- Those who know its potential and use it well to their advantage;
- Those who know its potential but do not use it to their advantage, either because they do not know how to or they do not want to;
- Those with no clue as to what networking can help them achieve.
Networking requires meeting and connecting with people. For the introvert, the thought of meeting strangers can be daunting. Consider the following:
- Do you find yourself wanting to wiggle out of social situations?
- Do you feel drained after attending a party or meeting a group of people?
- Does the thought of business networking make you squirm in your seat?
If you answered ‘yes’ to the questions above, welcome to the world of introverts!
As an introvert who provides training and consulting in professional networking, I always stump the attendees at talks and workshops when I reveal to them that I am not the extrovert they thought me to be. It’s oxymoronic to claim that I, the introvert, can help people succeed in business networking, since my personality inclines me to be less enthusiastic about meeting people, particularly new ones.
Don’t believe the naysayers and the myths. The good news for introverts who want to benefit from networking is that you can train and equip yourself with the necessary skills to do it well. It takes time and effort, and not only is it achievable, it’s potentially fulfilling.
First embrace your introversion. Second, tell yourself you can do it. Third, take action steps in the direction you wish to go.