He Who Hesitates: Sales for the Shy

May 21, 2012

Thanks to Flickr user kaibara87 for the photo.

Think you might have trouble getting out on the floor and talking with your fellow business people? You aren’t alone.

Not too long ago Inc. posted an article titled “Networking for Introverts: 3 Tips for Success” and lo and behold, they got a number of responses from the very introverts they were writing to. In what I consider a pretty innovative move, Inc. put out another article based completely on the feedback their readers gave to the first.

(That’s meta. They put out valuable information, the article, and the way they put it out is valuable, too. By posting that second article, Inc. demonstrated through action, not just lofty words, that they care deeply about what their readers think and view them as experts, as well.)

But, to back on track, here’s what their readers said about being a real-life introvert networking on the floor:

“Networking is a skill that can be learned, even for the most shy or introverted person… What helps me:

  • Go with a friend or colleague, so we can offer mutual support and introductions.
  • Give myself permission to come and go as I want, no apologies (I don’t need to be first on the scene, or stay to the bitter end!).
  • Don’t schedule anything else social that day, so I’ve got energy to exert.
  • Remind myself that other people might be anxious or uncomfortable, too; we’re all in this together.
  • And remember to smile. Smiling invites and relaxes like few things can.” -Beth Buelow, Founder,Introverted Entrepreneur (A neat resource for introverts to find business coaching)

Here's another piece of great advice:

“Part of life’s gift is just being able to listen and get to know someone.  Still, I sometimes don’t say anything when I’m with a group of people or in a meeting. I notice the voice in my head telling me to speak up. But, as soon as I drown it out, then I know I’m not pretending to be someone else.” -Patrick Zielinski

A great strength of the introvert is their ability to listen well. While sometimes it can be helpful to fake it ‘till you make it, it can also be detrimental to your confidence and leave your conversation feeling a bit like a performance. So, feel it out; there are times to speak up, and there are times to listen.

(Prepare yourself for the cliche be-who-you-are! speech.) The introvert and the extrovert each have their own particular strengths and weaknesses. The key isn't forcing yourself to become one or the other, it's just finding a balance.

Source and where to read more! Master Networking: Tips for Introverts


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