Are Introverts Better than Extroverts at Online Networking?

I can make a case for why the answer could be Yes.

Discussing Introverts and Extroverts at Podcamp Western Mass 2013

Discussing Introverts and Extroverts at Podcamp Western Mass 2013 (Click to view my photo album on Facebook.)

At the recent Podcamp Western Mass (an unconference about social media), I led a session with this exact same title. I got both introverts and extroverts to give their opinions.

To make it easy for both introverts and extroverts to participate equally, I had folks move to a spot in the room that represented their opinion on questions like “Introverts should become more extroverted.”

Here’s a hint about the discussion outcome. One of the extroverts said something like this at the end: Continue reading

OMG, Networking Is NOT About “Gift of Gab”!

I’ve been noticing something at networking events and I’ve got to comment, at the risk of offending someone.

People who think they are GOOD at networking often are NOT. On the flip side, people who think they are BAD at it, are doing better than they think!!

Please rethink what you’re doing.

This Really Happened to Me.

Recently I was approached at an event by a woman who is clearly excited about her new business. She walked up, started talking, handed me lots of promo material, took my card, and then walked away. I was stunned. I watched her “work” the room like that. Then she called me later asking to meet up. Uh, not sure I want to return that call. Would you?

Maybe I should call her back and offer her a little free advice, or better yet, some marketing coaching. Hmm. Continue reading

My Story From Wallflower to Enjoying Networking

Some people know me as that woman who leads networking workshops especially for introverts and anyone struggling with networking. It’s true, I’ve often led a workshop called Networking Secrets from an Ex-Wallflower™.

I’ve even led it at Harvard Business School (which was a gulp at first that turned out to be very fulfilling).

My behind-the-scenes story is that I really was a wallflower for a long time. In fact, I was that painfully shy, practically invisible kid all the way through school. For example, even though I was obsessed with making good grades, if I had to do an oral report, I would beg the teacher to give me an “F” instead of making me talk in front of the class. I can feel the queasiness just thinking about how it felt back then.

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Changing Your Clothes Can Lead the Way

I think you’d be surprised how much clothing comes up when talking with my career and business coaching clients. What is it about what we wear that seems to have such power over us?

Haven’t you put on a nice outfit and you suddenly feel like a million bucks? (Like The Red-Headed Diva shown in the photo.) Conversely, the wrong outfit can ruin your mood.

Sometimes we pretend we’re “above” that fashion stuff (while we secretly watch makeover shows). Let’s forget about judging or questioning it. Instead, let’s take a lesson from the drag queens who know the power of a great outfit!

Let’s consciously use that power of our clothes for our benefit.
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Stress Relief for Introverts in Career Transition

Transition

As a career and business coach who specializes in helping introverts, you can imagine the trepidation I hear about networking, writing about oneself on LinkedIn, starting a new business, and feeling heard at work.

For clarity, introverts are NOT at a disadvantage when it comes to career transition or starting a business, but they might feel more stressed by it.

My primary work struggle related to introversion was in valuing and speaking up about my talents and accomplishments. With a lot of help, including communication classes and a career coach, I finally hit my stride with speaking confidently, authentically, and thoughtfully. It’s funny to look back because my communication now feels so easy and so “me.”

I’ve gathered a few resources that might help ease the stress of the career or business transition for other introverts. Continue reading