I often hear introverts say that they are poor networkers. I completely disagree. Introverts are some of the best networkers because they usually spend more time listening to what is being said in a conversation rather than waiting to interject his or her thoughts.
Great relationships whether they are personal or professional stem from getting to know one another and building rapport. We, as people, want to be heard. We trust people who hear us. I wrote a blog last year titled “Be Interested, Not Interesting” which proves my point in this blog. If I’m intent on being interesting, I am concentrating on the wrong person in the conversation. If I’m interested, then I’m focused on the right person because I’m listening.
The reason introverts are so good at listening is that they are typically not the type of people to wait for the person talking to take a breath to interject with a story of their own. Great listeners focus on the person talking and answer with questions about the story at hand rather than trying to trump that story with one of their own.
How often have you talked with someone who focused on you and your story then walk away thinking you had a great conversation? Of course you have. On the flip side, have you ever talked with someone only to walk away thinking to yourself, “That person never shut up!” Don’t be that person. Use your listening skills to build your network in these three easy steps:
- The next time you attend an event, focus your conversations on listening to what other people have to say and only respond with comments or questions directed to the person talking and not about yourself.
- Send the person or people you met an email or hand written note the very next day and mention something discussed in your conversation as opposed to something about you. and….
- STAY IN TOUCH! Don’t drop this potential contact.
Be a great listener, and you will a trusted and respected colleague and friend.