Networking skills are not the exclusive property of extroverts. Introverts have them, too.
Not the belle or beau of the ball? Don’t do well in groups? Are you kind of shy or just hate playing the networking game? You can still be a great networker. The best part is, you don’t have to and shouldn’t change you.
You do have to play by the rules. Networking is a balancing act; give and take. It’s not just about sales or prospecting. Although these can happen. You can also use it for finding friends, jobs, fun places to go or avoid, and a million other things. Think about it as a combination of a “net” which gathers things in and keeps things out and a lot of hard “work”. Believe me, it doesn’t come easy to extroverts either although it may seem that way.
How Introverts can use their strengths
But you can play to your strengths and get great rewards. What are those? Most introverts I have known are great gathers of information and deep thinkers. When I did a session on Networking for Introverts at SXSW two years ago, I first wondered if anyone would show up. They did and all those introverts made me a true believer in their abilities. This depth means introverts have a lot to give. Most are good observers, intuitive, with great analysis skills. Hard work and thoroughness is central to how they operate. I recommend to every extrovert, that they network with at least one introvert.