BW 024 : How to Network Like an Introvert - and Actually Enjoy it!

tips Mar 07, 2023
 

Watch the video here or on YouTube; listen anywhere podcasts are played (Apple, Spotify, Google…)

 The Transcript is below.

 

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In today's episode I share five tips for networking as an introvert and how to actually enjoy it!

And I know what you're probably thinking, especially if you're an introvert, this is not even possible. But I promise you, someone who is a hardcore, introverted preference type like myself. I am at a place where I really enjoy networking and meeting new people, and you can too! This is actually a course that's going to be hosted within the Brave Widow community. So if you're not a member yet, go to brave widow.com and sign up for our membership community, because this is just a taste of the types of courses and education and things that we offer to our members inside of the community.

 

We talk about:

~ What defines an introvert

~ Why introverts are good at networking

~ How you can enjoy networking as an introvert

~ My view on small talk

 

Quotes:

~ "Introverts have a lot of strengths when it comes to networking and my recommendation is that if you're an introvert, you really double down on those strengths."

~ "At the end of the day, small talk is really that bridge that helps us get from being strangers or being people who don't really know each other very well, to potentially being a really good friend or connection or relationship in the future."

~ "Be a connector of people where possible in your relationships. You will become more valuable in a lot of your relationships by being willing to do this."

 

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The Brave Widow Community is a place where you can connect with other widows, find hope and healing, and begin to dream again for the future.  Learn more at bravewidow.com.  

 

Hey guys, I’m Emily Jones

I was widowed at age 37, one month shy of our 20 year wedding anniversary.  Nathan and I have four beautiful children together.  My world was turned completely upside down when I lost him.  With faith, community, and wisdom from others, I’ve been able to find hope, joy, and dream again for the future.  I want to help others do the same, too!

 

FOLLOW me on SOCIAL:

Twitter @brave_widow

Instagram @brave_widow

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/bravewidow

YouTube@bravewidow

 

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 Transcription:

Emily Jones: [00:00:00] Hey, and welcome to episode number 24 of The Brave Widow Show, how to enjoy networking, making friends, and meeting new people, even if you're an introvert. And yes, yes, you can actually enjoy it and you can actually do well with networking and meeting new people, even if you are a hardcore preference type introvert just like myself. This is a topic that I thought was really important and helpful for widows. For me, it was something I really had to practice and refine over the last year and a half, and I wanted to share some of the tips and insights that worked really well for me with you in addition to things that I've researched and ideas that I found out there in the interwebs, and this is a taste of the type of content and courses that we house inside of the Brave Widow membership community. So I did a live event. We have two to three live events [00:01:00] per month. This is one that I just recently hosted. We have also turned this into a full-blown course in the membership community.

And if you'll recall, we've had folks like Daniel Kopp talk about financial planning. Seth Connell at this point as a financial coach, we've had Michelle Lennon talking about how to train your dream dog, and we have an upcoming live event that's going to be free to the public on March 28th with Laura Sinclair from Flourish Home Organizing, and you're gonna get more information on that soon. But there are so many experts that are out there that we are pulling in specifically for you, our listeners, and also deeper dive discussions for the Brave Widow members in the community. So if you're not part of the community, go sign up.

You can go to brave widow.com to learn more about what all is in the membership community and some of the cool things that we have there. [00:02:00] So yeah, come check it out. so what an introvert is not, they're not necessarily reserved, afraid. Of fact I know a lot of outgoing introverts and people who tend to meet me, especially in work or in a social type setting, are often surprised to learn that I have a very strong introverted preference. And what that means is think about. If you were to go to a big party, like a big party, it's three hours long. There's tons of people there. Or think about when you've gone to a conference, maybe it was a two day conference, a five day conference event, and you were just like, really around all these people. There are tons of people there that you don't know after that type of event, do you walk away feeling energized and excited and just on cloud nine, or do you walk away going, whew, I'm exhausted. I need some downtime. I need to take a [00:03:00] nap. I need to not talk to anyone for the next day or two. If that is you, if you are drained by interacting with people and having a lot of that social type of interaction, then most likely you are an introvert in the very broadest terms.

So I know a lot of bubbly, outgoing, friendly, introverted people who get very exhausted at the end of lots of social interactions. So when we talk about introvert, That's what it means. For example, I spent several years as a trainer and then even a leader in the workplace. I love people. I love being around people. I love pouring myself into people, but they exhaust me. So that's why I have such a strong introverted preference.

So are introverts good at networking. I mean, it seems like the first reaction might be, You get drained being around people. It's exhausting for you. You're probably not very [00:04:00] good at it. In fact, introverts have a lot of strengths when it comes to networking and so my recommendation is that if you're an introvert, you really double down on those strengths. Introverts are really good listeners and are highly curious about other people. They're highly observant and have a lot of attention to details. So if you share something with an introvert, Most likely they're gonna remember that, especially if you're someone important to them. They are happy to give other people the spotlight and to be attentive and for all of our wonderful, extroverted friends who I love.

So my very best friends are extroverts. We are happy for you to have the spotlight, for you to tell your stories and just relish the attention and the time that spent on you for us introvert. That is perfect and amazing because then the spotlight is not on us. Introverts also [00:05:00] typically have very thoughtful responses and ask thought-provoking questions, and typically in the networking space.

And introverts gonna be focused on building a few quality connections rather than a lot of shallow connection. Or just a lot of connections in general. So how can you enjoy networking as an introvert? Like how is this helpful for you? What are some of the things that allow you to best prepare for it?

 How is it possible to enjoy networking as an introvert? Well, for one thing, you get to plan ahead and prepare. I hate being put on the spot in most situations. I hate feeling like I'm not mentally prepared for a situation. But most likely if you're networking, you're going to an event, you're going to a conference, you're gonna go meet some new people, you have time mentally to plan ahead and prepare.

You also have the ability to make meaningful connections. You have a chance [00:06:00] to meet really some interesting people and find some common ground. And lastly, you can help people feel seen. Not all introverts necessarily want to help other people or really feel a passion for that, but a lot of us do. And so having the ability to help people feel seen and heard is something that's very fulfilling and rewarding.

All right. Now before I jump into my top five tips for introvert networking success, I wanna share with you a little bit about my view on small talk. . A lot of people who have an introverted preference really hate small talk, and I used to really hate it too. You know how it is? How was your weekend? How was the weather?

How's the kids, what about those Razorbacks? Whatever it is. We don't really like small talk. To us it's just fluff and superficial and awkward at times. We don't really know what to say. We're just not [00:07:00] really that great at that. But I have learned to embrace the small talk and to almost make a little game with myself.

So I like to ask deep, meaningful questions. I like to learn about the core of who a person is much more so than just that superficial small talk. So I try to play a game with myself to see how quickly I can get someone to move out of small talk into conversations that are more meaningful. Because at the end of the day, small talk is really that bridge that helps us get from being strangers or being people who don't really know each other very well, to potentially being a really good friend or connection or relationship in the future. And the challenge is, you can't just walk up to someone when you first meet 'em and say, what was your biggest fear as a child? Tell me all about it.

I mean, you could, I, I don't know how well that would work out for you, but. The [00:08:00] small talk is really that bridge that helps us get to some of those more interesting and complex and reflective type of questions that we are naturally very curious about with people. So although we don't like to live in an environment where we're constantly focused on small talk, view it as that baby step that's needed to get to the next level and see how efficiently and how savvy you can navigate that conversation into something that you're both interested in and is a little more complex than the weather or sports or whatever might come up.

All right. Five tips for networking success, even if you're an introvert.

Number one. Is to view this as a numbers game, and I don't mean to view it, like get out there and talk to as many people as possible. Sometimes that's the [00:09:00] big goal at conferences or events or networking things is go around and collect everybody's business cards and see how many people that you can talk to.

Well, first of all, that sounds really just horrible to me. That doesn't sound very fun and it doesn't really give you a lot of time to talk to someone for very long and to find some of those deep and meaningful connections. So when I say to think about this as a numbers game, one thing to keep in mind is that you're not going to connect with everyone that you meet.

There just isn't gonna be a deep connection or a relationship or partnership that can form with this person long term. And it doesn't have to be. You can look at people and your interactions with people in a way that they're your gateway person, right? So maybe you're looking for someone who can, I don't know, lay tile in your house, so you go to a certain [00:10:00] type of event.

Maybe it's a real estate event, maybe it's a contractor's event, and you meet someone and they're a plumber. The plumber's not necessarily what you need. You want someone to connect with someone who lays tile, but that plumber may know someone who lays tile or that plumber may know someone else who knows that person.

So even though when you first meet someone, you might think, oh, there's not really a connection here. I don't really see myself interacting with this person long term. This isn't really what I was looking for. It's still at times worth the effort and investment because you never know what other points of connection are out there either for them or for you.

So maybe you know someone that that other person needs to be connected to and you can be of service. A good goal, I would say, at these networking events is to try to connect with just one to three people. Now, if it's a week long conference and maybe part of your job there is to connect with a lot of people, [00:11:00] obviously you have to look at this a little differently. But for me, when I'm trying to expand my network and the people that I know and connect with people, I really aim at each event to focus on one to three people that I can really familiarize myself with and start to form a deeper relationship with. You can also ask people who else you should meet. So say you meet someone that's really interesting and you enjoy talking with them again, they may be a good gateway person or they may be a good connector of other people and they may have a great idea of someone else also that you can meet that would love connecting with you, and you'd love connecting with them.

And don't hesitate to ask them to introduce you. They might say, Hey, I noticed that you are in this industry, and yeah, there's another person here, his name's Dan. He's also in that industry. You guys should meet and you could ask that person to introduce you, and that then takes the burden off of you of having to walk up to a [00:12:00] complete stranger on your own and start some of those conversations.

All right. Tip number two for networking success, even as an introvert is to be curious. Ask lots of question. and this is a really good tip for carrying conversations or for when you don't really know what to say next or what to share next. People love to talk about themselves and it's typically a topic that people are really comfortable talking about and they can often get lost in their train of thought with sharing all kinds of information.

And so one of the best things that you can do to really engage with someone in a conversation is to give them the space to do that. Think about how many times you actually get to just talk about yourself and someone appears genuinely interested. They're asking you questions, they wanna hear more, they're not fighting you for the spotlight and fighting you for time in a conversation like they are feeding you the [00:13:00] attention. They're asking the questions, they're digging a little deeper. That for most people, is a euphoric feeling because they don't really get that very often. So ask people questions about themselves.

Ask them what their interests are, dreams, goals, identify the likes and the little quirks about them. Ask them thought-provoking, open-ended questions. So for example, if someone says, oh yeah, I went up to the mountains this last weekend and we went skiing. Well, instead of saying, oh, that sounds cool, and then moving the conversation somewhere else.

Dig into what they said, oh, well, where did you go specifically on your trip and how did you get started in skiing? And what made you interested in that? How did you get started? Did someone introduce that to you? Is that something you do with that person? How does it make you feel? What was the most scary or [00:14:00] thrilling experience you've had while skiing. There's so many questions and so many paths that you could lead someone down where they really feel like they're getting to share a part of who they are. Sometimes they'll turn into a values conversation. Sometimes it'll just be a more detailed picture of who they are.

But people generally genuinely love this. So feel free to be curious and ask lots of questions. If someone asks you, well, oh, how was your weekend? Or How was your night last night? Have something in your back pocket that you can specifically pull from. So instead of saying, oh yeah, this weekend, was pretty fun. I didn't do a whole lot. How about you? I'm trying to think about something specific that you can mention. You could say, oh, I've been binge watching, Breaking Bad. Or you could say, oh yeah, I went to a show recently. I went and saw Jordan Peterson try to bring up something that the other person could connect with.

So they could say, [00:15:00] oh, you watched Breaking Bad. I do too. I love that show. Or, oh, Jordan Peterson, I've never heard of him. Tell me more about that. Try to bring up a detail or something specific in the conversation that gives other people the opportunity to ask you questions or gives them the opportunity to find a common point of interest between the two of you.

All right. Tip number three for networking success is to be prepared. Do your homework people. Find out who's gonna be there, who do you wanna connect with? Are there speakers? Are there gonna be specific topics that are happening? Are there any online groups like Facebook groups that you could join and start interacting with people before you even go and maybe even agree to meet up while you're there?

If you have an opportunity to book meetings or join similar interest meetups or have one-on-one times with people. Get those booked before you go to the event. Prepare questions to ask, and you may just wanna have some questions on hand that you can [00:16:00] ask people like, oh, is this your first time here?

How did you learn about this event? What do you typically enjoy about these types of events and coming. For example, when I first joined a local real estate investor group meeting it was May of 2022. And I went for my first event and I just started asking people, oh, well how long have you been coming to these meetings?

What are the meetings typically like? What do you like about them? Who have you met here that you find really interesting or that you've enjoyed talking to? Just have some of those, high level broad questions that you can ask people, and it will help get that conversation going and also give you an idea of what to expect or what they really appreciate about the event.

Before you go to event, you could scan article, like news articles for the latest and greatest of what's happening. So if there's something that's happened in the news, a lot of [00:17:00] times this is some of that small talk that people wanna bring up. You could see if there's been any major events that have happened. Like the Super Bowl recently happened as I'm recording this. So even though you may not be a huge fan and you may not know a lot about it, you could still know who won the Super Bowl? What was the score? Was it an exciting game or a boring game? Just a few things that could help you chime into a conversation or ask someone about that during a conversation.

If you have business cards or if you have, some of them are electronic or maybe you have your social media information. You also can download free QR codes that you scan with your phone. So you could have one of those downloaded with all of your contact information just in order to exchange contact information with other people.

And a good idea, let's say you're in a conversation, you're really enjoying talking to someone. Don't wait until the conversation is over to ask for their [00:18:00] information. If you are starting to enjoy talking to someone, you really wanna be able to continue that the moment you realize it and where it makes sense, go ahead and ask them for their information.

Because what can happen at some of these events is at any time someone else can walk up, at any time, that person may get a text or a phone call and have to step away. And logistically it just may not work out where the two of you can connect back again later on. So ask for contact information early. I read an idea one time where instead of business cards, what this person would do is they would take a selfie with that person.

And then they would text that person their name and information. So when they went to reach out to that person later on, they had not only that person's contact information already saved and loaded, but then a picture to help them remember who it was they spoke to at the event. . You may also want to schedule breaks in between events.

So if you're at a big conference and there are a lot of different sessions and you're gonna be there for a few days. [00:19:00] Give yourself time and space to step away, to go lay down, to go sit in a quiet corner, just to give your brain time to breathe and give yourself a little bit of time to recharge before you jump back into the event.

You could also find other people who are introverts and maybe even are struggling . Maybe they need a quiet corner or someone to just talk to one-on-one. But typically you can find these folks by themselves or on their phone or kind of away from the overall crowd. And typically they do enjoy connecting more on a one-on-one basis than trying to navigate just the sea of people. You could also get a friend or someone to go with you to an event. Now say that gently because you don't wanna take a friend to an event and the two of you are just clustered together and hanging out and not meeting people. So if you go with a [00:20:00] friend, you want it to be, I mean, if it was an extroverted, charismatic person, that would be amazing.

Cuz they'll naturally attract a lot of people for you. But you really want to take someone with you who also has the same mentality of wanting to get out and connect with people of wanting to help introduce you to someone and vice versa. You could also make it your job to be introducing your friend or someone there at the event.

So say your friend is building their business or say they're looking for new customers, or they're looking for a new job or whatever it is, then you can use that as a way to help introduce them to other people, which really in effect is introducing you to new people and helping to form some of those connections.

All right. Tip number four for networking success as an introvert is to manage your energy level. Think about when you are at your peak energy. So if you're the morning [00:21:00] person or the night owl or the lunchtime person, like whatever time of the day is your peak energy, that is the time that you really wanna be interacting with people the most. So some of us are early birds and some of us are night owls. So if you tend to be a night owl. Don't be booking a lot of breakfast events, you're not gonna be on your a game. Maybe go to the after event mixer or something and vice versa.

Or you wanna have some of your more important type meetups. You wanna try to really attend those. Schedule downtime and breaks in between sessions, and then schedule downtime for you the day after the event. So if it's a big event or it's a big conference, then you may wanna have time the next day where you're not talking to anyone and you're not doing video calls and you're not doing a lot of heavy interaction. You are allowing yourself time to rest and [00:22:00] recuperate.

Tip number five for networking Success as an introvert is to be accessible. Early on in my career, I really had a challenge with wanting to open up. I kept work, work and personal life in my personal life box and didn't really talk a lot about myself. Or give a lot of specifics. I am pretty talented being able to deflect conversation to another topic or to answer in a very vague and broad way, but that does not do anyone any service with building connection and rapport with people.

When people are interacting with you, they're looking for similarities and points of connection. So they wanna be able to look at you and say, oh, me too. You like that? I like it too. You know so-and-so. I know them too. You whatever it is they want and are looking for a similarity or a way that they can [00:23:00] connect with you.

And if they can't find that, then many times you really won't have much of a conversation and definitely not much of a relationship if you just really have nothing in common. So you have to be willing to open yourself up. You have to be willing to share some details, some interests, some specifics about things so that people can look at it and go, oh yeah, me too. And you have something that you can connect with. You wanna follow up with people after the event. Now, great news for most introverts, you can do this in writing. You don't have to meet up with them in person unless you just want to. Although I love taking people to lunch, taking 'em for coffee to dinner.

Texting, calling them, whatever it is, just continually following up with them and randomly nurturing that relationship. And then lastly, under be accessible, be a connector of people.[00:24:00] People who know other people and can bring people together or connect one person to another are highly valuable. And I can think of maybe two or three people in my life that if I called them right now and said, Hey, do you know somebody who does plumbing? Do you know somebody who is a housekeeper? Do you know someone who could set up an L L C? Whatever it is, this person is gonna know someone who does pretty much anything. And if they don't know someone who does that, they can make a couple of phone calls and within five minutes, Get you connected with the person that you're looking for.

This is something I've really been trying to ramp up my skillset in is intentionally connecting people, bringing them together, and just meeting more people in general who have all kinds of different skillsets. Because I [00:25:00] see this as something that is so highly valuable and creates just almost a, an ecosystem of people who can help each other and people who can form some of those broader relationships in life.

I mean, if you're someone who helps connect people who provides helpful information, so for example, if you know someone's interested in learning how to be a landlord, and you come across an interesting article about Landlording that you think they might find interesting and you send it to them. It's one way to show that you're someone who's thoughtful, who provides information that's helpful, that you're someone who's resourceful and that you think about other people. You're not just always thinking about only yourself and what you're interested in. You're also thinking about what other people are interested in. So, be a connector of people where possible in your [00:26:00] relationships, you will become more valuable in a lot of your relationships by being willing to do this.

All right, so just a quick recap. These are not all of my tips for success. I could be on here for three hours talking about this, but the top five tips that I wanted to share with you today are to view this as a number game. Remember that you're aiming to connect with one to three people and that you meet, may meet several people to really connect with those top one to three.

Two is to be curious. Ask lots of questions, dig deeper. When people tell you information, ask why. How. All kinds of questions that are open-ended and thought-provoking to really get that person talking. Number three is to be prepared with questions that you can ask, with knowing who it is you wanna meet, if it's possible to know that upfront with being able to share your information and collect their [00:27:00] information.

Number four is to manage your energy level and to keep in mind when your, your best self and when you need rest.

And then number five is to be accessible with sharing information about you so that you can form some good points of connection and to follow up with people and be someone who is a connector of other people.

All right. I hope these networking tips were helpful for you as they have really been for me, and I would love to hear from you which tip resonated with you the most, or which one is one that you're consistently doing. And then as a reminder, this is gonna be offered as a course in the Brave Widow community.

We have a live event where we'll be talking through this. I'll be taking open q and a and sharing more details about these tips and more, I'm gonna specifically be sharing, how to make friends as an adult, which should be easy and is really hard. How [00:28:00] to build a network of people around you and specifically some things to do when you're attending a conference that can help you with, with navigating some of these things.

So excited to talk about that in the community and I hope to see you there.

Emily Jones: Hey guys. Thank you so much for listening to the Brave Widow Podcast. I would love to help you take your next step, whether that's healing your heart, binding hope, or achieving your dreams for the future.

Do you need a safe space to connect with other like-minded widows? Do you wish you had how-tos for getting through the next steps in your journey, organizing your life or moving through grief? What about live calls where you get answers to your burning questions? The Brave Widow Membership Community is just what you need.[00:29:00]

Inside you'll find courses to help guide you, a community of other widows to connect with, live coaching and q and a calls, and small group coaching where you can work on what matters most to you. Learn how to heal your heart, find hope, reclaim joy, and dream again for the future. It is possible. Head on over to brave widow.com to learn more.

 

 

 

 

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