Introverts can be successful at networking

introvert imageI consider myself an introvert, but very few people who know me casually think of me that way. I’ve enjoyed a very successful business career that demanded being social and having good networking skills. So how did I accomplish that? Basically, I managed those social and networking opportunities by having a plan and jumping in with small steps.

Let me give you an example. The first year I went to my national trade association convention, I didn’t know anyone and just watched from a distance on that first day. But I knew I would have to make an effort to meet people if I wanted to represent and grow my business. So I introduced myself to one person each day that I didn’t know. Over the years, I got to know many people, who introduced me to more people, and I eventually became the chairman of the trade association.

Many people use the term introvert to mean someone who is shy, quiet, keeps to her/his self, and perhaps lacks confidence. That is different from the meaning suggested by Carl Jung and incorporated into the Myers-Briggs test which is commonly used for job placement and marriage counseling. Introverts are people who draw their energy, particularly in times of stress, from within. They need to spend time with themselves to recharge their batteries.

–Barney Cohen

President, Business 360 Northwest

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