Fellow introverted 🐠🐟! How do you build an internal network? I dread small talk and feel like I have nothing in common due to background/age. Also, the connections made feel insincere/fake...

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You need to develop a “work personality.” It helps if you look at it as acting. I’m totally introverted, but you would never be able to tell. People think I’m just selective when I tell them I am.. nope. Nope, just having an off day.

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Couldn’t agree more on the Work personality. People had no idea I was an introvert. I can take the mask off now that I work from home, lol!
Don’t get me wrong, I would get really quiet but when it was time to talk to someone, I always looked excited to be having the conversation but as soon as it was over, I was always like, thank goodness they’re gone. I HATE small talk.

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I reach out only to people who are working on things I’m interested in. It doesn’t end up feeling as insincere or awkward because I’m genuinely curious to learn more about what they’re doing and want to contribute to future efforts— which is what I tell them. People love knowing that what they’re doing is being seen and valued by others.

I don’t even bother networking otherwise. No point in depleting what little social energy we have if it’s not going to be authentic and mutually beneficial conversation.

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From a psychology perspective, introverts are those who draw energy from being alone while extroverts draw energy by being around others. The first step is to recognize this - you will have to, in life and work, get used to being around and networking with others. But if you reserve your alone time to recharge, it can be really helpful.

That said, what I personally try to do in a big social networking situation is find one person who is interesting to me (maybe another introvert) and take the time to make a meaningful connection. Over time you will find that you may have a smaller network than an extrovert but one that will go out of their way to help you or seek your help.

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In honesty - I have a problem networking. I know some techniques, but I dislike using them - my personality.

One method is called CSK, for Ctrl-Shift-K. That is the shortcut key in Outlook to remind you to reach out to people in your network, to set a tickler for yourself to follow up. Don’t worry about it being insincere, just do it and you might find that soon they aren’t insincere at all.

Use LinkedIn obviously.


What else do people do?

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Drinking a glass or two of wine helps to relax

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I can deal with small groups really well, just not large ones so. This is just to give perspective.

I usually start with a little background with the person, where they grew up, went to school, etc. Then I usually ask what they like doing on weekends/free time and try to find something I'm interested in learning more about or something we have in common. I love food so that is usually a good thing to connect on.

After that, I usually try to keep up with people every few months. I manage contacts either through LinkedIn or Skpe (lists by projects) and browse through every once in a while to see who I haven't kept in contact with for a while and send a hi, hope you're doing well sort of note.

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...like, how you’re connected with a person but you don’t talk to the person until something comes up (e.g. you need work, need advice, see them, etc.). How do you managed a big network? How do you build trust and make better connections?

I built it on hard work and built a brand name for my expertise. I am not a very social person either but I used meetings and trainings to build a network. What I feel is most people come to office to get their work done. So as long as you are roundish peg and getting shit done no one cares.

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Sounds about right

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My practice director just met with me to go over firm development and she also added comments about how “vibrant and social” I was 😂

I truly feel like consulting has given me a different personality and/or I just really am an extroverted introvert

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Happy holidays, fellow introverts! Hope you find time to decompress in between family conversations, even if it’s hiding in the bathroom for a few minutes to re-energize.

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