The last several weeks have been incredibly busy as I’ve been networking like a boss. I’m a social introvert, which means I get both energized and drained by interacting with new people, so I have to be extra aware of my energy levels to not completely deplete myself. There are millions of us out there, hustling as if we were extroverts to help our businesses succeed. Perhaps you’re one yourself!
Why do I network even though I’m introverted? For me, it’s more than just exposure for Sparkle Hustle Grow. It’s to help myself grow as a person while stretching those extrovert muscles.
My intention in meeting other entrepreneurial women is honestly to make friends who understand what it’s like to run your own company – there are just some aspects of running a small business that my friends in corporate America wouldn’t quite understand. (I say this as an ex-corporate person.) It’s easy to be friendly – it’s hard to be friendly and connect with someone in a loud, crowded room, but we’ve got to make the effort, no?
I’m always open to a business collaboration, especially if it happens organically through a friendly conversation. It’s easier to do that when I’m able to connect with someone on a deeper level than your typical networking event allows.
Here’s what I do to help myself network better as a social introvert:
1) I go early to networking events. I think other introverts are likely to get there early, plus it’s quieter and easier to initiate a conversation. Besides, are other introverys like me going to be there later at a networking event, when it’s loud and they’d be exhausted? There’s no shame in showing up at the start – we’re not in our 20s trying to be cool by showing up late!
2) Find a quiet area. Sometimes, that means the lobby, sometimes it means as far away from the bar as possible. If you can’t hear, you can’t hold a conversation. Against a wall can be good, since you’re not hearing people all around you and feeling surrounded, but the noise reflecting off the wall could be an issue.
3) Invite someone to continue the conversation later. It’s so much easier to connect and develop the seed of a partnership at coffee the next day, or at a quieter bar that same night. It’s not embarassing to say to someone “I’d love to talk to you more but I’m done for the night / am having a hard time hearing you / have other work to do.”
The organization I’ve been networking recently with is called The Know Women. I was drawn to them because they hold space for all of us women who work – both in our own businesses or in the corporate field. If you’d like more info, feel free to reach out to them (or me). I receive no financial gain in this and my only intention is to share this wonderful group of fellow businesswomen with you.
Some lessons I learned from my time with them:
- We’re all trying to accomplish the same thing in our business – to marry meaning and money on our own terms.
- Even if you think there’s no one there for you at that event, if you’re open, there will be at least one meaningful connection.
- Everyone who looks like they’ve “made it” is still figuring something else out in their life, it never really ends because the goal post just gets moved (a good thing perhaps because this usually indicates growth).
- You can still be true to yourself and play the game.
Are you a social introvert, too? Do you have tips about trying to network? Would you like to know more about The Know Women? Drop us an email and it will get routed to me. I’d love to get to know you!
Background image by Antenna via Unsplash.