When I’m speaking and training in how to network effectively, I always broach the topic of introverts and extroverts. And before you tell me there is another category, I know there are also ambiverts – those of you who fall somewhere centrally on the spectrum. For the purpose of this blog, I’m focussing on extroverts.
The reason I think it’s important to know whether you’re an introvert or an extrovert is because it will dictate your approach to planning, performing and managing your follow up in the best fashion possible, when you are out and about networking.
Knowing your energy source is vital to understanding how to leverage your networking efforts to best effect. Going to a networking event when you’re tired, drained and lacking energy will not serve you and you will not be putting your best foot forward.
Extroverts have a natural advantage when it comes to networking, as they thrive in social situations and are energised by interacting with others. This is an important point to note and an extremely relevant distinction.
Extroverts GET THEIR ENERGY from other people.
However, even for extroverts, effective networking requires some strategies and considerations.
Things to Ponder
- Extroverts are the quintessential social butterflies. They can easily dominate a room and a conversation. This can be intimidating for people who identify as shy or as shy introverts.
- My advice is to always be aware of your surroundings. Be aware of who is in the group. Take time to notice the energy of the people you are talking with. Is it more reticent and calm, shy, outgoing, boisterous? Taking time to notice this will help you adapt and put point 1 below into practice – you can put people at ease.
- The workplace and our work environments are made for extroverts and are not typically introvert friendly.
- Introverts can learn to be situational extroverts. I’m a a shy introvert, as an example. However, I can be a situational extrovert.
- It’s important for extroverts who are out networking to also protect their energy!
- Most people don’t really know where they fit on the spectrum. Taking a personality test (e.g. DiSC, Myers Briggs, Insights etc) and understanding yourself better is one of the most compassionate and savvy things you can do for yourself. Don’t wait for an employer or organisation to organise this. Be empowered and invest in yourself.
My Quickest Tip
The quickest tip I can give for extroverts is this:
For extroverts speaking to an introvert, try to contain your energy and manage your enthusiasm so it’s not overpowering and overwhelming to the introvert. Honour their energy by respecting it and to respect it you need to be aware.
Now don’t think for a second I don’t invert this for introverts. If you’re an introvert, then the advice follows. Notice the energy of the person you’re talking to. For introverts speaking to extroverts, raise your energy a bit to meet the extroverts energy.
Here are some tips for extroverts to network effectively:
- Leverage Your Strengths: As an extrovert, you have a natural ability to engage in conversations and connect with people. Use your outgoing personality to your advantage by initiating conversations, showing genuine interest in others, and making them feel comfortable.
- Attend Events and Join Groups: Seek out networking events, conferences, industry gatherings, or professional groups where you can meet like-minded individuals or people from your field of interest. Actively participate in discussions, workshops, or seminars to showcase your knowledge and passion.
- Be a Good Listener: While extroverts enjoy talking and sharing their thoughts, it’s important to remember that networking is a two-way street. Be an active listener and show genuine interest in what others have to say. Ask open-ended questions, and give them your full attention to build meaningful connections.
- Expand Your Network Online: Utilise social media platforms like LinkedIn to connect with professionals in your industry. Engage in conversations, share valuable content and join relevant groups or fora. Online networking can complement in-person interactions and help you reach a wider audience. You can read more on how to network like a pro online here.
- Offer Help and Support: Extroverts can make a lasting impression by being helpful and supportive to others. Share your knowledge, expertise, or resources whenever possible. Be genuine in your desire to assist others, as people are more likely to remember and reciprocate the favor.
- Follow Up: After meeting someone, take the initiative to follow up and nurture the connection. Send a personalized email, connect on social media, or schedule a coffee meeting to continue the conversation. Effective networking requires ongoing effort and relationship-building.
- Attend to Body Language: As an extrovert, your enthusiasm and energy are likely evident through your body language. However, be mindful of non-verbal cues such as maintaining eye contact, smiling, and having an open posture. These signals convey approachability and engagement.
- Be Memorable, But Authentic: Extroverts tend to be outgoing and memorable, but it’s important to be true to yourself. Showcase your personality, but avoid being overly boisterous or dominating conversations. People are more likely to connect with someone who is genuine and relatable.
- Practice Active Networking: Actively seek out opportunities to network, both within your professional circles and in new environments. Attend industry conferences, workshops, or seminars, and participate in activities where you can meet new people and expand your network.
- Maintain Relationships: Networking isn’t just about making initial connections—it’s about building and maintaining relationships over time. Keep in touch with your network by periodically reaching out, offering assistance, or sharing relevant information. This helps nurture connections and opens up potential opportunities in the future. I explore how to nurture your online network here.
- Numbers Matter: Having a goal set and being intentional about attending networking events is crucial. Set a target of people to meet. Extroverts can manage meeting more people than introverts, but it’s not about meeting as many people as possible. It’s about having meaningful conversations that can lead to a further meetings. You don’t want to meet more people than you can realistically follow up with after the event, so my advice is 3-5 people per event.
Remember that effective networking is a long-term investment, and it’s about building genuine connections rather than collecting business cards. I say that networking is a marathon and not a sprint. I really ask my clients to consider networking for the long term and to take it one day at a time.
By leveraging your extroverted nature and employing these strategies, you can make meaningful connections and expand your professional network.
I’d love to know what your own thoughts are as an extroverted networker. Do these tips on how extroverts can network effectively resonate with you? Do you agree? Do you have other strategies? Comment below and let me know.
Connecting With Jean
You can reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I’m a qualified DiSC profiler, so if you’d like to chat to me on getting an analysis done on your personality to see how it can help you in your business or your career, to manage your interpersonal relationships, do get in touch with me!
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