What if I told you that you could still “Network” and not interact with a single stranger?
But isn’t that what “networking” is? Building your “network” of people you know?
But that’s only one half, one side, one kind of networking…
I have great news for the introverts of the world!
(Which, by the way, research has shown to be between 40-50% of the population. So if you aren’t an introvert yourself, you are literally surrounded by them.)
It surprises people to hear that introverts make up such a large portion of our population.
And that’s probably because American society has, for the last 100-ish years, explicitly valued extroversion and many of its related characteristics like charisma, gregariousness, assertiveness, and social engagement.
Although being outgoing and being an extrovert is NOT the same - just like shyness and introversion are NOT the same - our society has associated those traits so closely many people think of them as synonyms.
Which is incorrect.
So if you’re one of the folks (like me) who recharges their battery by being alone and gains energy from taking a break to process (re: an introvert) then listen up!
But, wait, what if I’m an extrovert?
This totally applies to you, too!
But you already get validation from society on your innate way of interacting with the world, so I’m giving the introverts a feature moment here!
You get a section at the end though, don’t worry :)
Why does networking usually suck?
Because the old school, outdated kind of networking - where stuffy professionals in suits mill around a room shaking hands, handing out business cards, and making small talk - is the literal antithesis of how an introvert functions.
And TBH a lot of extroverts don’t like it either.
Because it’s meaningless, surface-level interaction.
No one is actually getting to know anyone.
There’s no authenticity in the interactions; it’s all performative.
There’s no vulnerability in the conversations; it’s all about the weather or the latest sporting event or who got kicked off The Bachelor last week.