The Introvert’s Edge to Networking

The Introvert’s Edge to Networking Book Cover The Introvert’s Edge to Networking
Matthew Pollard
HarperCollins Leadership

Networking has a reputation as being something that only extroverts excel at. This book seeks to set the record straight and show that introverts are more than capable of being master networkers without making significant changes to their personality.

Through a strict, step-by-step strategy, the author sets out to help the introverted reader channel their natural strengths and master the art of networking in an intelligent, focussed manner. It is backed up with a lot of personal and client stories to hopefully reassure the reader that networking success is really within their reach with a bit of effort and strategic work.

To an introvert they would rather get a root canal than go to a networking event, states the author, noting that if one is minded to push to do it at all, networking is like torture – being not what one got into their chosen profession to do. Perhaps the fault is with networking itself, or at least how it is often carried out? The author says that networking ‘as most people do it today, feels more like door-to-door sales, walking from person to person with a focus on selling as much as possible, as quickly as possible. Creating a meaningful, lasting relationship comes in as a distant second, if at all.’

It gets you thinking, doesn’t it? The author states that introverts need a smarter approach that leverages their strengths, with introverts having a natural edge to the way he believes networking should be really be done. What is the key takeaway? It is a matter of ‘not playing a numbers game and talking to as many people as possible but by being strategic, being prepared, practicing, and knowing how to cultivate deeper relationships with just a few of exactly the right people in the room.’

Even if you believe you are not ready to network or have no immediate need to do so, this book has a lot of interesting information about how to identify your strong points which can be easily used in other situations too.

Adding value to networking interactions is a crucial attribute to success, it is stated, with story-rich presentations and situations being a vital facet, opening up conversations and opportunities along the way. The good thing with stories is that they can be told and re-told, allowing the shy introvert to practice their ‘pitch’ and have a ‘script’ to cling to when sailing in unfamiliar or perceived uncomfortable waters. Establishing a unified message is also recommended, being a way of getting a prospect to ask more information and act as a way to telling your engaging story. Following up contacts is also important, and often overlooked, states the author, likening networking without follow-up to a farmer neglecting to tend to their crops. By ignoring a follow-up, you risk missing out on your biggest-yielding prospects and key relationships.

The book is easy to read and follow thanks to its narrative style. It can feel a little too lengthy at times, but repetition can often help reinforce learning, and it remains an engaging, informative read in any case. The reader may feel that the approach given is challenging and arduous, but it appears to be easy to implement if you just follow the guidance, put your toe tentatively in the water and go with the flow. The author states that he wants the introverted reader to create a networking system that they can control, predict, rely upon and latterly improve.

The author delivers the tools, and it is now up to the reader to implement and take benefit from their undoubted hard work.