Not all entrepreneurs are extroverts. Just because they have great ideas and want to share them with the world doesn’t mean they are drawn to people. That doesn’t make them bad people, but it does make them weaker in terms of one important thing: networking.
Networking allows entrepreneurs to create connections, increase their business’ visibility and find new partners and employees. It is a critical skill for any entrepreneur who wants their business to succeed. The question is, how can introverts network effectively?
They Focus on What They’ve Achieved
Introverts tend to have problems creating and cultivating relationships with other people, unless they’re forced to do so through circumstance, such as being in the same college class. They also tend to lack interest in other people’s lives and often have no inclination to share personal details. Fortunately, there is something they can discuss that can start off a conversation -their accomplishments.
These accomplishments will say more about the entrepreneur than any discussion involving the weather or children. If delivered in the right time and context, talking about accomplishments can assure listeners that the entrepreneur knows a lot. This will result in potential investors treating the entrepreneur with greater respect, and will make them more likely to invest in the start-up.
They Go Online
Introverts can use the Internet to develop and nurture relationships before having to meet people in real life. Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and other social media platforms can help introverted entrepreneurs contact and connect with other event participants. The fact that the introvert knows someone, even if it only through the Internet, can help alleviate anxiety or fear. Connecting with someone also brings other benefits. Entrepreneurs with online connections can use those connections to discover and attend events, for example.
They Maintain What Relationships They Do Create
Since it’s difficult for an introvert to start new relationships, it is in their best interest to cultivate and maintain any strong relationships that they do make. These friends and partners can speak up for the introvert on certain occasions and introduce the entrepreneur to other people, which can then lead to other strong relationships. Of course, this goes both ways. Introverts should give their friends and partners a heads-up when an opportunity or event related to their industry comes up.
They Take Notes
Introverted entrepreneurs may find numbers and facts easy to remember, but faces and names may give them trouble. An easy solution to this is to take notes. After meeting someone, entrepreneurs can write down what’s important about them in a smartphone or notebook. There is no shame in doing this -some people simply have trouble when it comes to remembering people. In fact, taking notes can be seen as a sign of respect. Entrepreneurs can also opt to take pictures and put the people they meet into their smartphone’s contact list, allowing them to review the face and the name later in the day.
They Talk Shop
Small talk is not the introvert’s way. The good news for introverted entrepreneurs is that there’s so much more to discuss than the weather. Talking shop or talking about things in the industry and their opinions on them can create a strong impression. Asking other people about their opinions on recent events can serve as an icebreaker and conversation starter. Smart introverts will also ask about industry- related problems and issues. If they happen to know of someone or something they can help, they will recommend them. This aid will leave the listener with a good impression and is a great way to start a relationship.
They Don’t Overthink It
A major cause for anxiety among introverted entrepreneurs is the fear of saying something wrong. The fact is people are going to make mistakes. They’re going to say the wrong thing, misspeak, or simply forget their manners. The good news is that it’s OK to a point. Everyone makes mistakes. Even the most social extrovert will commit a faux pas at one point. What an introvert can do is simply learn from the mistake and move on. There’s no point in dwelling in those mistakes.
Introverted entrepreneurs may find networking difficult, but it’s far from impossible. They can use the Internet to start conversations and relationships without the anxiety that comes with face-to-face interaction. They can also take notes and talk about the industry and dodge the awkwardness that often comes with making small talk. Introvert entrepreneurs can network -they just need to approach it differently.