If any of you remember first year psychology you’ll recognize the name Carl Jung. Mr. Jung was one of the first theorists on introverts and extroverts and the characterizations on both. Ever taken a Myers-Briggs test by your grade 12 teacher or the HR department? Thank Jung.
Jung characterized an introvert by:
…an inward flowing of personal energy—a withdrawal concentrating on subjective factors. The introvert is usually:
a. . happy alone with a rich imagination, and
b. prefers reflection to activity.
c. Weakness of the introverted attitude includes
(1) a lack confidence in relation to people and things and
(2) a tendency to be unsociable, shy, and hesitant. (source: here)
If an introvert is to be typified by being the happiest being along with their thoughts, and a tendancy to be unsocialable, imagine being an introvert who is also an entrepreneur.
As you know, the job of an entrepreneur is rife with connecting with new people, putting on your best face and, an introverts worst nightmare…networking.
Networking can be exhausting for many, but for introverts more painfully so.
Are you an introvert? You’re not going to like this: networking is vital to making relationships with other businesses, colleagues and clients. Putting a name to a face is vital.
It’s not all bad! There are ways to make the networking leap a less painful experience, here are three.
Make Connections Online First
Twitter, my favourite place to hang out. I’ve met so many people online that I now consider my friends, who, I met (IRL) after becoming fast friends online. Twitter is the greatest place to connect and chat and have just regular old conversations in 140 characters. Need to get started on Twitter? Read the Twitter Basics articles: Part One & Part Two
Embrace your Introverted-ness
What do we introverts like to do? Reflect…on everything. You’ve thought through every scenario of pretty much everything. You’ve had conversations in your head (don’t worry, it’s totally healthy… right??) about your subject matter and you know your business inside and out. You have a lot to share with the world, the world needs you sharing!
And if All things fail…
Bring a friend, or network in a small setting rather than a huge conference. Although a huge conference may seem like a great place to start networking, because of the vast amount of people or lots of places to hide, it’s not. Chances are you’ll sit at your own table with the friend you brought along and talk to no one. Instead, find a networking group that meets at a coffee shop, a small class or event. You’re much more likely to make a couple of connections at a small event and build up your gusto for bigger groups or trickier situations and you’ll find that your friend that you brought…won’t be needed after all.