In this day and age, it’s almost impossible to run a business, online or in person, and not interact with people on a daily basis. If you’re an introvert, this can be exceedingly difficult on every level. Without networking, you don’t have a business. Therefore, an introvert has to battle against their own quirks if they truly want to be successful. If you’re an introvert, don’t feel defeated. There are many ways you can work through the things you struggle with in connection with running a business.
Be prepared for interactions of all types. If you think that you’re going to be able to avoid people and conversations 100% of the time, you’re not helping yourself any. I don’t like being around people either or interacting with them if I don’t have to but it’s a must. Further, it’s a must with a smile thrown in. You’re going to have rude people, wonderful people, chatty people, awkward people, etc. The list is endless and if you want to be a business owner, mentally prepare yourself for this. Don’t give yourself the leeway of saying, “Well, maybe it won’t happen.” This only makes it harder. Take a deep breath and do it.
It’s ok if you’re just a listener. People absolutely love talking about themselves. So, if you have to interact, feel free to do mostly listening which should make it easier overall. Besides, listening to people makes them feel like you truly care which is big for getting relationships started with clients. The more personal you are the better chance you have of landing a client. Ask questions as well. If all you do is ask questions the whole time, that’s not a bad thing.
Take someone along with you when hitting up conference and the like. A lot of times we feel more comfortable or like we can take on the world when we have a buddy along with us. This will help you to feel relaxed in order for you to be more focused on the task of interacting instead of focused on the fact that you don’t want to be there. Friends are great for a confidence booster so don’t be afraid to not go it alone.
The biggest thing is to know yourself and what you’re capable of. I’ve already mentioned being prepared; this is part of that. Make yourself a plan of action. For example, have a list of questions that you always ask or have a plan of how you’re going to approach people. It sounds silly but if I see someone that I’m interested in talking to, I will stand near them and then when they say something that I can connect to, I smile and jump in with a question or a short line that’s funny or witty. I rarely deviate from the same few lines because they always work. It’s not rocket science, it’s just knowing yourself and going for it. There’s nothing wrong with being uncomfortable networking; a lot of people are. The only time it becomes bad is when you let it hold you back from having an awesome business.