Saturday, December 1, 2012

Connect with Your Colleagues ... Even If You're an Introvert

At yesterday's Career Thought Leaders Career Brainstorming Day 2012 session, we talked about assessment tools resume writers and career coaches can use with their clients -- and one of the most-frequently used tools is the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). (You can take a free online test to determine your four-letter personality type here.)

If your results indicate that you are an Introvert, you may find it difficult to connect with your colleagues — but this connection can be essential to your success as a resume writer.

You may think that being introverted means that a person is shy. That's not necessarily the case. Introverts do tend to prefer one-on-one conversation over group meetings. They also tend to require a significant amount of quiet time to think and reflect.

Introverts are motivated internally. They are thinkers and can become so locked inside their own head that they appear cut off from others. These tendencies can make it difficult to meet people, make connections, and network. Yet connections can help you build your business.

When you meet the right people you...

  • Can build a team of experts to support you to succeed
  • Can forge powerful partnerships and increase profits and success
  • Leverage relationships 
  • Lead people within an organization (for example, a team of subcontractors)
  • Build a community of followers, prospects, and customers

In short, relationships are essential for success. Yet introverts can struggle to meet people and forge these powerful and profitable relationships. Here are a few things you can do to meet more people if you're an introvert.

How to Meet People and Build Connections

#1 Set goals

Set a goal to meet one new person each day. This is easily done online — for example, on LinkedIn. (In most communities, you have to make a concerted effort to run into someone who will be a valuable connection for your resume writing business -- for example, another resume writer, a career coach, a therapist, a Realtor®, someone who works in a career services department.) But you can use LinkedIn's  "People You May Know" function to find at least one person to connect with on LinkedIn.

Remember, relationships build a business. The more people you know, the more opportunities you're exposed to.

#2 Build connections

As you begin meeting people, start asking those you connect with on a personal or professional level who they know. You can leverage 5 connections into 25 if each person you meet introduces you to 5 new people. Your network will begin to grow and you'll be meeting people who are like-minded. It's a wonderful way to build a support network.

#3 Set time aside 

Set time aside to recharge and refresh. This is particularly important if you're taking time to get out and meet new people. For example, if you spend an hour networking online, then make sure to schedule an hour of downtime that day too. It's too easy to become overwhelmed and burned out if you spend a lot of time networking and neglect the downtime an introvert requires.

Introverts have a spectacular ability to brainstorm, problem solve, innovate, and build a business. Yet the ability to meet new people and leverage relationships is a challenge. Appeal to your ability to connect with people on a one-on-one basis and start meeting more people in a relaxed and comfortable manner. There's no need to force yourself into a public speaking situation or into a large-scale networking group. Work to your strengths.

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