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7 Easy tips to help introverts network

So you're at the most amazing networking event and all you can think of is getting home to a cozy drink and good book. But the point is, that even if you're an introvert, networking doesn't have to be the task that ends up in a deep, dark pit of its own, miles underneath the second to last most hated task in your biz.

Being an introvert doesn't necessarily mean that you're shy, it's just that spending too much of your time in large, jollity - enforced groups sucks the energy right out of you. You need to spend time alone recharging yourself if you're going to stay sane.

.AND (most importantly) it doesn't mean that you can't develop great networking skills and dare I suggest, even enjoy it in small doses. Here are my seven tips to help you turn networking into a part of your biz you do with ease.

1. Acknowledge that whilst networking might not be something you look forward to you can develop the skills to make the most of any networking event.

How do I know this with total certainty? As a child, I was painfully shy and yet somehow (WOW! how did that happen?!!) my first job after graduating was as a trainer running one day induction courses. When I started the job, I was often sick with fear, (literally). After lots of honing my skills, I started to love the buzz of presenting and even got to do small talk with the best of them! A few years later I married a man in the military so social chit chat at very formal events became another skill.

HINT: If I managed it, it's more than possible for you. It's a set of skills and we're not necessarily born perfect networkers but it's something you can improve ( you might feel like heading for the nearest isolated island afterwards for a break, but yes, it's possible for you).

2. Examine any "should" mentality that's lurking at the back of your mind.

Track it down and throw it out if it's not helping you.There's no "strike you down with lightening" rule that says  networking has to involve you wowing, entertaining and inspiring a large group of people all at once. Networking, like building any close relationship involves two people gradually getting to know one another so work with one person at a time. Get to know them, find your ground of common interest, share some of what you do, make a connection, take your time. And then move onto the next person for your next conversation. You decide how many people you want to connect with and go for quality rather than quantity. You're in total control of your networking style and how you want to do it that suits you best.

3. Use your wonderful, introvert skills.

The most effective networkers are not necessarily the ones who loudly proclaim their expertise and their success stories. People like to be heard. And this my dear introvert is where you come in. Obviously you need to make sure you're comfortable talking about your own business but keeping the focus on the other person can work wonderfully. Use your finely honed listening skills, ask questions, show an interest in the other person, make them feel listened to.

"I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel"

Maya Angelou

4. Networking is all about building relationships and the best ones take time. It's not a "make a great impression immediately or all hope is lost" game. Making the effort to get in touch after you've met someone for the first time and then keeping that connection going, thoughtfully and appropriately, this is what we're so good at. So look at it as your opportunity to develop meaningful, long-term connections.

5. It's all in the body language.

Amy Cuddy, the American social psychologist has done some wonderful research on the power of the stance. So grab yourself somewhere private and do the wonder woman stance - feet hip width apart, hands on hips, stand tall and look up. Just a couple minutes of this can change your hormone balance triggering more of the testosterone (makes us feel more assertive and more able to tackle a networking event and less cortisol ( makes us worry). How you use your body deeply effects your mind so if you're feeling nervous, concentrate on standing tall and giving eye contact. It's a feedback loop so people will assume you're confident, treat you as such and you'll start feeling more confident pretty darn quickly.

 

6.There are many, many ways to network.

Thank goodness for social media because now us introverts have got another way to network that plays to our advantage. Networking is not just about face to face interaction but it's now possible to make powerful, virtual connections.

So how many facebook groups are you a part of, what other social media platforms do you belong to? Treat them all as an opportunity to network whether that's with potential clients or colleagues because some of your most powerful connections may live half a world away. Just because we may never meet someone face to face doesn't mean we're not networking.

7. And finally...

Put looking after yourself and self care at the top of your list . If you're out networking in person give yourself plenty of time to recharge. Decide how many people you would like to meet per month or how many events you're going to attend and then take action knowing that once you've done this you can relax and reward yourself doing something you enjoy.

 

Why an online biz is so perfect for introverts

"In a gentle way, you can shake the world."

Mahatma Gandhi

I've recently been watching The Apprentice. I'm not sure if it's on a TV near you, but it involves candidates bragging that they're going to give it “3 million, trillion % " and that the business world is about to be taken by storm with their amazingness.

Until recently, this was my view of what it took to be an entrepreneur. Loud, brash and prepared to crush any opposition in red, shiny stilettos.

But I've changed my opinion - I've had a huge mind shift about what it takes to be an entrepreneur.

Which is just as well really because otherwise I'd be applying for small jobs in darkened rooms with plenty of time to think.

You see, I've realised, as have many of you, that being an online entrepreneur is fantastic for us introverts. Because with this amazing tool we can reach out to our tribe in ways we could never have imagined a few years ago.

We can be ourselves. We can be authentic. And we don't have to act like idiots!

We can be successful in our biz as introverts

There have been times, I admit, when I've felt an intolerable pressure to be an extrovert.

From my mother’s admonishment, "Why can't you be less agonized, shy and awkward when you meet people?" (I've forgiven her, all bitterness was banished long ago about that!) to the pressure I've put on myself to attend parties that have only made me feel lonely,

For years I agonized about my withdrawn nature, I've seen it as a failure, a fundamental flaw in my character that I needed to work hard to overcome.

In my early twenties after graduating my first job was as a trainer in the HR department of a large insurance firm.

Getting to the stage where I could stand up and run courses in front of groups was a hard won victory (interspersed with being sick in the loos and quaking in fear behind the flipchart).

But I did it. No one laughed themselves hysterical at my attempts nor did I ever collapse in tears with “being in front of an audience” fear.

And I became skilled at making presentations. I even got to enjoy the feeling of exhilaration when a course went well.

I learnt to party with the best of them for short spurts, I became comfortable with small talk and I forced myself to confront social situations that once would have made me shudder.

Finally, it became clear that being introvert was not the same as being shy.

But now I recognise that I need periods of silence to recharge myself and that being constantly with other people can leave me frazzled, mentally and physically exhausted. And that’s totally fine. This is who I am.

I've finally accepted that this part of my nature, rather than being the hindrance to business success that I've always assumed it to be, now it can be what makes me.

Why being an online entrepreneur is so perfect for introverts

1. We're happy to spend time alone.

This is so vital because the skills of an online entrepreneur, getting to grips with the technology, digging deep to understand our strengths and experience so that we fully understand exactly how we can serve our clients, this takes quiet time, it takes thinking time.

2. We're willing to stick with it through all the setbacks and knocks.

As Einstein said,

"It's not that I'm so smart, it’s that I stay with problems longer."

Being an entrepreneur is about trial and error. Perhaps some people are brilliant enough to start a “quick off the mark” business and find their tribe instantly but for most of us, it’s hard work especially in the first stages. We have to show up consistently, we have to keep at it and resiliently tackle the setbacks, to not give up on our dreams.

3. Vast reserves of creativity.

Many introverts like to read, they love to explore new ideas and search for inspiration. They love to spend time making connections between what seem initially unrelated ideas and this makes them the inspirers and creatives of the world. Miss Creativity is very bad at turning up in loud places but prefers popping up and surprising you with a knock um down, brilliant idea in the shower, on a country walk, whilst you’re sipping a drink, gazing at the flames of an open fire.

4. Well thought out and executed

You may not get a rush job done by us, we like to take our time but what you will get is a carefully researched, thought through, meticulous product or service. Ok,  so sometimes we can verge on the edge of stuckness with a tendency to procrastinate and overthink but we always strive to deliver quality.

And so all of these factors combine to the final, most important reason why we’re so brilliant at being successful online entrepreneurs. Once we build up the courage to get out of our quiet nests, to interact and stand tall and proud…..

5. We're great leaders

Throw out all your misconceptions about loud, bully leaders who motivate by fear, the ones who favour the “round everyone up and force them onwards with large cattle prods” sort of leadership. And heaven knows we’ve plenty of examples of this type of leader at the moment.

Because it’s the time of the quiet leader, the thoughtful, measured leader.

Introverts are not motivated by the need to shout the loudest, to have their say but rather are happy to listen to the needs of others, to give them the time to explore issues and problems and to discover their own solutions.

We're empathetic and give others space.

And this makes us great leaders.

It makes us great leaders because the people who can really make a positive difference to the world, the ones who can pull humanity forward to a more conscious, loving future, these are the ones who want to find their own power.

And to lead these people we need to help them discover their own internal guidance, to lead with inspiration motivation.

We need to give them empathy and space.

The world now more than ever, needs leaders to show the way by shining a light on the beauty in the world that could be possible. It’s about showing up and showing others the way forward.

But why is being a leader so important anyway?

You may have noticed that it's getting a little crowded in internet, entrepreneurial land. And if we want to stand out and create a successful biz (in our quiet, reserved way) then we need to be more robust about being willing to stand up as leaders, to be authentic and powerful.

We've got to be willing to call people to us and to show them the way through our own example by being authentic.

"Being a leader and creating a movement is not about making a buck. It's about transforming people's lives and creating a lasting and sustainable business in the process." Jenn Scalia

And as long as we can find the courage within ourselves to share our message, introverts have these qualities in bucket loads.

Our capacity for observing and listening to others means that creating a biz that serves the needs of others is easy-peasy second nature to us.

So this powerful tool, the internet that enables us to reach out is the unleashing of the introvert. It gives us the opportunity to reach out to very specific niches that are perfect for us, it provides the medium of communicating with others that is right up our street.

So I’m going to shout out (in a restrained way) that this is our time now, the time when the introvert steps into their own power.

Is it going to be yours?

I hope so because the world needs our messages and I look forward to seeing you up there as a leader, my introvert lovely. 

Quotes to inspire introverts. Lets unleash our hidden powers!

Inspiration for all you introvert entrepreneurs out there.

 

How your inner power will fire up your biz

“The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don't have any.”

Alice Walker

Do you see yourself as a powerful person?

Would you describe yourself as strong and bold?

I’m hoping you do because if you don’t it’s going to be hard work attracting a tribe and letting them know who you are, who you really are. It’s going to be tough trying to sell your products, services, building the biz of your dreams.  

What is personal power?

I'm not talking of having power over others, persuading, cajoling or demanding them to make you hot chocolate, fetch your slippers and move the sofa one inch to the left (although I can see the attraction of this).

I'm talking about having personal power, that feeling of being able to take on the world, “show them what you've got”, power. When you feel uninhibited by thoughts of not being good enough, worthy enough or having something to say that’s big enough. When you know yourself, your strengths and your wobbles.

When you feel as if you could fly.

And this is so, so important because if you’re an online entrepreneur, you are your biz. And if you don’t have personal power, your biz is like trying to dance without rhythm, co-ordination and balance. It’s going to be a bit of a mess (although it could be very expressive).

What does personal power give us (and our biz)?

It’s the power to fully use all the limitless, beautiful, amazing inner resources that are uniquely ours, to be ourselves, where we are unhampered by expectations of how we think we should feel or behave.

It's about deeply owning who we are and not being afraid to show others our true selves without the need for camouflage. Being willing to be authentic and vulnerable even though there will be knocks and setbacks (and yes there will be plenty of these). 

I recently shared my thoughts and gave advice to a facebook group member’s request for help. Maybe I gave rubbish advice (and should never darken groups with my thoughts again), maybe I didn’t. Perhaps what I offered was poorly judged. Who knows! But the response I got back seemed dismissive, even angry. So yes I did feel hurt for the rest of that evening and I was upset.

I used to believe that being powerful meant being impervious to knocks and hurts from others, but true power, I believe now, is about being vulnerable. It’s about allowing ourselves to feel whatever we feel, not beating ourselves up for it and telling ourselves we should be more resilient and able to brush this sort of remark off.

We have to stop trying to change ourselves into something we’re not.

I’ve got to the stage where I realise this is me, this is who I am. I do take things to heart and am at times, way too sensitive. And this doesn’t mean, I’m going to hide away forever, crushed and squashed, but I do have to look my feelings squarely in the eyes.

I have to be myself, fully myself, because if I’m not, I’ve got no way of connecting authentically to my tribe. They won’t know who I am.

 

It's about our ability to master our own feelings and inner states so that we can work towards goals of our choosing. It’s about knowing who we are

This might seem a contradiction after the previous section, but mastery should never mean suppression. Rather, we need to acknowledge where we’re at and then know how to move ourselves through the feeling without getting stuck in it.

And that’s exactly what happened for me. I asked for support from another facebook group (and got it in heaps), I went for a walk, I took steps to move myself though it.

Personal power gives us self-mastery. It helps us deal with our emotions, it enables us to push through all the fear and resistance and gives us the self-discipline to get that blog post written and our latest webinar out there.

 

 

It's about being willing to move around the world in the way that makes sense to us, secure in the knowledge that our thoughts and actions will have the impact and results we're after. We expect success.

The very opposite of this in its extreme version is the state of learned helplessness. When this happens we start to feel that whatever we do we’re not going to be able to make a difference and that our actions have no impact. And eventually we stop trying. We stay still and keep small. We don't trust ourselves. 

To be personally powerful is to feel that you can influence your world. That your biz has its place and it's worthwhile,

 

Years ago I met a man at a company social event. We talked briefly and then a few days later, I plucked up the courage to phone him and ask him out for a drink. I'd been reading that classic Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway. So I felt it didn’t really matter if he accepted or not because I felt good about myself having pushed through my (large) fear and resistance. I made the call and he accepted.

We went for a drink, and he told me he’d been very flattered but he already had a girlfriend but he’d been curious about me. We had a lovely few hours over a few drinks and I went home elated even though the outcome had not been entirely what I wanted. But I had done it and that was the vital part. It was important to my sense of who I was. 

 

So that’s personal power and if you’ve got it, your biz will be unstoppable. Without it you're going to want to spend your time with your head under the duvet. You're not going to be prepared to stand up for your opinions and chances are you're not going to be willing to voice them in the first place.

That’s not to say that most of us have our personal power intact, all of the time. We all have off days, days when we wonder where the hell we’re going with all of this. And even whilst it might not be your constant companion, it needs to be nurtured, taken care of and protected wisely.

It's going to fire up your biz.

Isn't it time to unleash your inner power?

There was a time when I didn't have a voice, when I didn't think that what I wanted to say was worth saying.

Not long ago I believed that successful entrepreneurs were different from me. They were more talented, experienced, qualified or just plain more awesome than I was. 

I was playing it small and safe.

I'd forgotten how I used to feel powerful and courageous. How I used to feel happy to go for it, try something new and push myself into work that felt a little bit scary but afterwards was exhilarating and made me want to dance.

Gradually, over the years and after staying at home looking after my much wanted daughter, my world became smaller, stifling. 

Until...

There was no super power lightning strike from above that filled me with passion and fire. But somehow slowly, step by step, I rediscovered if for myself. I began to believe in myself once again. I took little steps forward.

And now I've got empowerment, in fact I've got it BIG TIME!

"Our greatest power lies in being ourselves, and being authentic."

Nick Williams, Unconditional Success

I've realised that I am enough, I can and do have a voice. I've transformed myself into my high heel wearing (only in my own mind obviously as tramping round country lanes in such get up would be inconvenient), fear busting and resistance smashing self.

And now I know that I don't need to be anyone else to be a success and that I'm not broken, or in need of fixing or sorting out. That my flaws are, in their own way, perfect. That I am, in fact, powerful.

As are you.

Feeling strong, feeling complete, it brings a fire to our work, a certainly which will outlast any setbacks or knocks. It's intoxicating, invigorating. And you know what? Feeling like this, you and I, we can soar, together.

So watch out world because we're here, and we're ready for you. 

Over, the next few blogs, I'll be exploring empowerment, in far more detail but in the meantime, I'd love to hear about you, your struggles and triumphs with feeling personally powerful.