Hello! Last week, we talked about how to network during the Christmas season and the meet & greet suggestions focused on attending parties and finding networking opportunities there. This week, I propose that we revisit the Christmas season topic from a different perspective and explore how to network when the party scene is either not convenient or undesirable. This week, I’ll network with the introverts.
You may have noticed that I’m an extrovert by nature. I love a good party. I’m writing the first draft of this post on Friday December 1 and at a few minutes past 6:00 this evening, I will walk into a party and inaugurate my holiday season.
I’ll attend another party on Saturday afternoon at the branch library where I’m a board member and to round out the weekend, I’ll join the festivities at my neighborhood tree trimming party on Sunday afternoon at 4:00. I’ll attend another three or four parties through December, but I don’t expect any of them to be a networking bonanza. All are social and that’s OK with me.
But be advised that in between holding glasses of wine I’ll do some targeted networking to support the roll-out of my newest content marketing service and I will not be in extrovert mode when I do. The style of networking that I’ll employ as I prepare to beta test and launch the service I’ve been refining since September requires me to adopt the introvert mode.
Networking at parties is a subtle art. It’s a turn-off when at social events some hyper-ambitious extrovert wrestles as many people as possible into participating in unsolicited business discussions, in a misguided attempt to find clients. Introverts intuitively know that such behavior is a major faux pas.
So I’ll wear my introvert’s hat and email or call a short list of colleagues and good friends to propose that we get together soon. “It’s Christmas. Let me treat you!” I’ll reach out early this month, but won’t mind if we meet in January. The two of us can catch up, compare notes and talk a little business. I’ll broach the subject of my new service and describe how it can benefit the client’s business. “I’m looking to get this thing going quickly and I need referrals. Is there someone at your company who might be interested? Who do you know at other B2B companies?”
We’ll figure out a strategy as we have a nice, uninterrupted talk that is free from blaring music, loud voices and friends plopping down in adjacent chairs, looking to join our conversation. Extroverts get all of the attention when it comes to the subject of networking, yet introverts may have the inside track when it comes to relationship building and reaping benefits from their networking efforts.
Introverts know that a room full of chattering people balancing plates and drinks is a less than ideal environment for getting to know anyone beyond the surface gloss. They feel most comfortable in small groups, where they can relax and get beyond superficial attempts at communication and that is why they can be so successful.
When an introvert does attend a party, s/he is likely to approach the girl or guy who’s sitting alone, to make some friendly small talk that might develop into a real conversation. They often know how to make others feel included and welcome, in the most genuine sense. That is the essence of networking and relationship building and it can be very profitable.
Thanks for reading,
Image: Five O’ Clock Tea, Mary Cassatt (1880) Courtesy of The Museum of Fine Arts Boston, MA