In a recent article, “5 Networking Tips for People Who Can’t Network,” the author stated that the most likely reason that people don’t network effectively is because they think of themselves as introverts or shy. How ludicrous. Besides, that’s not what my findings are in an ongoing online survey!

People don’t network effectively because their thinking about it is wrong. They only start to network when they need something: a job, a customer, an employee or a connection to help them. Networking is something that is part of life. My husband and I have neighbors who love parties. They have some kind of gathering at their home at least once a month. Oh yeah; if you guessed they are both extroverts you are spot on. In this atmosphere of their guests eating with them, drinking with them and watching football games with them, they are networking. Need proof? Three or four neighbors now use their product in their home or business. This effective networking has little to do with the fact the people are extroverts or introverts. It has to know with their understanding that networking is a way of living.

One of the tips in the article that does make sense for introverts, once they let go of some of the ways they “see” networking – be other focused in networking; the number one article’s tip. Being focused on the other person first, kicks in an introverts natural skills and strengths of listening and asking questions. In a recent networking conversation with someone I just met, I received an email following the event. “I noticed that you very skillfully had me talk about myself and my business, but you didn’t talk about yourself and what you do. You’re obviously very good at helping introverts succeed.” Most people are interested in talking about themselves. But as introverts, particularly on a first meeting, self-disclosing is not on our agenda. The best thing is, it doesn’t need to be. Be yourself.

Another useful tip in the article, networking is like dating. I often a similar analogy and it’s worth repeating. Even extroverts will find benefit. On a first date you wouldn’t ask someone to marry you would you? Not usually. So why on earth on first meeting someone in networking would you ask them to “buy” what you are selling by droning on and on about you are yourself, your company, your product? I’m sorry; I don’t even know you. I think introverts know the goal of networking darn well: to get to the stage in the relationship to where you earn the right to have that conversation. Again my fellow introverts, be yourself.

What’s the one thing that helps introverts do better in networking? Introverts are better at networking when they are themselves. Be yourself. Networking isn’t just about showing up. It isn’t even just about having polite conversations when you do show up. It’s about moving that meeting with someone to a meaningful conversation – about what they want and about what you want. To get to that point, you have to have a relationship. And relationships are something that introverts are quite adept with building. My introverts friends, be yourself.

As an INTJ, in sales and marketing for 30 years, if my business doesn’t come from referrals (a form of networking) it comes from networking. Networking can work for everyone. It’s about what beliefs are guiding you through the process: if you believe you can’t connect, you won’t; if you believe you only need to connect with three people, you will. And if you think that networking doesn’t work because you are an introvert or you are shy, then, read this again: Networking can work for everyone.

Author's Bio: 

If you are interested in learning some worthwhile processes, ideas and Warm Bun strategies, listen to this free call by Patricia Weber and Monique MacKinnon, 10 Ways to Get WOWs From Your Holiday Season Networking,, from Basic Training Boot Camp: Networking for Straight Shooters.