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Introvert entrepreneurs need to get very creative when it comes to networking. But know you are certainly not alone. Most of the Silicon Valley is made up of introverts, and they possess powerful connections that drive their success.
Introverts are certainly more reserved. Mark Zuckerberg is an example of introverted success. In fact, Facebook brass has commented in the past on Zuckerberg’s shyness.
There is hope for the introverted entrepreneur. The introverted approach can be just as effective as the extroverted one.
“There are some staple introverted traits that are actually ideal for entrepreneurial success, and developing them further can help put introverts one step ahead,” Fast Company explains.
What about networking? If you’re an introverted entrepreneur, you will have to get a bit creative with your networking ideas.
Make the most out of each connection with the following creative tips, helping you approach networking from a fresh, non-stressful angle.
1. Create Your Own Events
If the thought of loud networking mixers or upper-crust soirees gets your palms sweaty, then creating your own events is essential.
Many introverted entrepreneurs take this approach in order to feel comfortable.
“Networking events are a beneficial way to meet others in your industry, as well as fellow business owners who are interested in learning and growing,” John Boitnott of Fortune suggests.
You can bring together the people you have on your networking list by throwing small, intimate dinner parties. Invite colleagues, journalists, industry authors, and investors, and control the pace of the networking event by having everyone at one table.
2. Network When You’re at Your Best
As an entrepreneur, you know the importance of timing. And knowing when to time your networking efforts means knowing when you are at your best for social engagements.
If your morning routine is all about solitude and zen entrepreneurial moments, breakfast networking events are probably not right for you.
When do you feel the most outgoing? This could be during the afternoon after your morning zen routine, or it may be during dinner hours.
In order to make the most out of your networking efforts, choose to be social when you know you will be the most engaged with others.
3. Make Networking a Cost-Benefit Analysis
Instead of showing up at multiple networking events in hopes of making connections, minimize stress by doing a networking cost-benefit analysis.
Ask yourself, “What would I be doing if I didn’t attend this event?”
Entrepreneurs know the value of time. There are business proposals to write, website adjustments to hammer out with web developers, and target demographics to assess, among other things.
Having a specific purpose for attending a networking event puts your introverted mind at ease, ultimately turning the networking event into business, not simply social.
Identify those attending the event and make a plan for connecting with them.
“Remember, focusing on building a network of professional support rather than a network that will help you advance should make networking more comfortable and strengthen some new and sincere bonds,” Gina Belli of PayScale explains.
Putting a higher value on time spent doing something else, rather than attending a networking event allows you to choose the right moments to connect. Cultivating stronger networking tactics.
4. Let Networking Fit Around Your Schedule
The schedule of any entrepreneur, introvert or extrovert, can be quite hectic. Tying to fit in networking events can add more stress to your already booked schedule.
If you keep in mind the above tips for creative networking, you want to identify the most opportune networking events and do research on those attending. This can be time-consuming.
However, many introverted entrepreneurs are actually letting innovative tech do the heavy lifting. From online scheduling platforms to AI personal assistance, the scheduling and research behind networking have become more manageable.
In fact, Mark Cuban said that “The world’s first trillionaires are going to come from somebody who masters AI.”
When you are at your introverted best, choosing the right networking events, and hosting your own professional soirées, you have a success plan.
The above tips allow for more enjoyable networking experiences, thus decreasing the stress and anxiety of being social. Own networking and be the most successful introvert you can be.
How Can Introverted Entrepreneurs Network?
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