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.