Extroverts for Introverts
When I present my Networking For Nice People keynote, I include a section about name badges. I consider the badges an invitation to go and talk to strangers. These opportunities are especially beneficial for extroverts, who find engaging easier at such gatherings.
The wallflowers at events are not snobs who wish to be left alone. They are often the introverts who are there to connect, but who become exhausted and overwhelmed by the thought of it. Don't think solo people wish to be left alone. If they did, they could have stayed home or hidden in their hotel rooms. It's the extroverts’ job to make introverts feel comfortable and welcomed.
"Many introverts have a horror for small talk but enjoy deep discussions." - Susan Cain
If you lean on the extrovert side, seek out the people standing alone at the next event you attend. Approach and introduce yourself with a friendly handshake or flu-avoiding fist bump. Ask them what brings them to the event. Try to shift from small talk to something with substance. According to the author of Quiet Revolution, Susan Cain, many introverts have a horror for small talk but enjoy deep discussions.
Listen to their answers carefully to find opportunities to ask follow-up questions that will comfortably keep them talking. Go easy, you are not interrogating them for the CIA. You’re simply striking up a conversation.
Remember that introverts may want to wrap up your conversation after a few short minutes. That’s fine and totally understanding. Be totally understanding.
“Introverts are word economists in a society suffering from verbal diarrhea.” - Michaela Chung
As you continue to meet new people at the event, remember the details the first person told you. This is a great opportunity to find other people to introduce them to.
Let’s say they are attending the event because they are new to the city and seeking employment. If you just met a recruiter, you should connect them and then exit the conversation to allow them to speak one to one.
It’s also important to remember that nobody is one-hundred-percent introverted or extroverted. It is a spectrum and individuals lean one way more than the other. Some people lean further to one side than others.
The Myers-Briggs Foundation website defines the two types by identifying extraversion as getting energy from active involvement, socializing, and action, and introversion as acquiring energy from handling complex ideas and abstract values either alone or in small groups.
I believe extroverts have the power to help introverts feel better at social gatherings. Introverts can network without going crazy. Empathy and understanding goes a long way and is always appreciated.
Do you consider yourself more introverted or extroverted?