My father-in-law is an introvert – his idea of a perfect day is sitting in his favorite chair reading a Tom Clancy novel (probably for the 8th time) and watching stock market updates on CNBC. He has a very successful 35 year career in sales – primarily in construction materials. How does an introvert become a top salesperson within a company of 10,000+ employees who generate sales revenues in excess of $2 billion (in 2003)?
As an introvert, my father-in-law is missing the BS gene that so many of us extroverts have. Engaging him in conversation takes effort, but after two minutes you will know that he is honest and is not just trying to make a quick sale. This lack of ‘schmoozing’ can work to the advantage of introverts when networking. While the initial outreach may be difficult on a person who finds this uncomfortable, often the contact will see the purpose/intention of the outreach is genuine.
A Harvard Business School blog details this and other advantages/tips in The Introvert’s Guide to Networking. A good read and I hope it will inspire those who struggle with the outreach phase of networking.