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Business Unplugged™
This blog features Carol Roth's tough love on business and entrepreneurship, as well as insights from Carol's community of contributors.

Networking for Introverts

Written By: Carol Roth | No Comments

Most people are surprised to find out that I consider myself an introvert.  While I have a big personality and a public persona, the reality is that I am more comfortable with alone time and if I had a choice, more often than not, I would pick staying home over heading out.  I also favor small groups and my energy often gets drained from big events.  That being said, I do consider myself adept at networking.  So, how does an introvert like me network?

If you consider yourself an introvert, here is my approach.

Focus on One-on-Ones Vs. Events

If I am going to make time to network, I find that I am more effective in making direct connections than going to larger events to meet people. I use phone calls and Skype and when I have extra time, coffees or meals to get to know individuals.  If we don’t have a pre-existing connection point, I always seek an introduction first so that someone can vouch that the connection is valuable from both parties’ standpoint. LinkedIn is a great way to find out if you have a direct connection to someone that you want to meet.  I also let those in my network know the types of individuals that I would like to connect with so that they know who would be an effective connection for me (and of course, I always connect those that I think should know each other as well).

I have also used social media to establish a dialogue and over time, if that connection still made sense, then reached out for a more formal meeting.

For Select Events, Have a Plan

While I minimize the number of events that I attend, sometimes an event is worthwhile or I have to be there anyways, such as events where I am speaking or on a panel, etc.  For these events, I map out a plan.  I research who is likely to attend, which sometimes requires contacting the event organizer.  I set goals for the individuals that I want to meet.  This gives me a very specific game-plan going in and puts some structure around the event.

Nurture Quality Instead of Quantity

While having a lot of connections can be helpful, I favor making fewer, deeper connections than trying to connect with everyone and their brother.  I make myself extra available and go out of my way to be helpful to those people who I believe are worthwhile connections.  I don’t do it quid pro quo- I do it because I value the people and the relationships.  Coming at those relationships authentically creates strong bonds and people that I can continually rely upon for business connections.

 

Are you an introvert?  If so, how do you approach networking?  Share below.

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Carol Roth is a national media personality, ‘recovering’ investment banker, investor, speaker and author of the New York Times bestselling book, The Entrepreneur Equation. She is a judge on the Mark Burnett (Shark Tank, The Voice, Survivor, The Apprentice) produced technology competition series, America's Greatest Makers, airing on TBS and Host of Microsoft's Office Small Business Academy show. Previously, Carol was the host and co-producer of The Noon Show, a current events talk show on WGN Radio, one of the top stations in the country, and a contributor to CNBC, as well as a frequent guest on Fox News, CNN, Fox Business and other stations. Carol's multimedia commentary covers business and the economy, current events, politics and pop culture topics. Carol has helped her clients complete more than $2 billion in capital raising and M&A transactions. She is a Top 100 Small Business Influencer (2011-2015) and has her own action figure. Twitter: @CarolJSRoth