No one can teach like someone who’s been there. Lisa Petrilli is a self-disclosed Introvert as well as an accomplished business woman who has run a $750 million business and negotiated pharmaceutical contracts with top global companies. In an article in the Harvard Business Review Petrelli talks about the contribution that learning strategies for networking made to her early success.

The only people that I have met that really love networking are people who run networking organizations and events. The truth is that many Extraverts find networking a challenge, but not in the same energy-draining way that Introverts might.

Petrilli’s top tips:

  • Embrace having a preference for Introversion. She suggests that many Introverts in business see Introversion as something to overcome. Once a person embraces their natural inclination to spend time alone reflecting, they can refine their ideas and be prepared to make a powerful impact by what they have to contribute to the conversation.
  • Petrilli has reframed networking from a large scale social onslaught to a series of one on one conversations. The benefits include creating better business relationships and being less drained by the experience.
  • She suggests using Social Media or other ways of connecting to reach out ahead of an event to people who you know will be attending, telling them that you are looking forward to meeting them. This pre-introduction paves the way to making connecting more comfortable.
  • If this way of pre- connecting isn’t possible, Petrilli suggests that it made a difference to her when she realized that if she took the initiative in introducing herself that others responded positively. She saw the benefit to her in reaching out first as doing this on her terms, as opposed to the whim of others.
  • Her final piece of advice is to resist the temptation to go directly to the next  event or meeting. Taking a half an hour or so to recharge will allow you to be fully engaged in the next thing on your schedule. It will also help to keep  from building a negative story about networking being an energy drain.

Her final word…

Introverts who avoid networking are making a critical career mistake. Being an adroit networker is non-negotiable — and not as hard as it might seem.

Category: Best practices
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