Introverts Can Network Effectively! Really!

Julie Bauke, the “Chief Career Happiness Officer” of the Bauke Group, has been a vital relationship to Centennial for years. She has shared with us some incredible advice, but her brief expositions on introverts and networking are particularly poignant. Whether you are a true introvert or social butterfly, this short series of articles on networking will demonstrate why we think so highly of Julie and value her expertise.

Introverts Can Network Effectively! Really! 

I know, I know. You hate it, you avoid it, you think you can’t do it so you don’t or won’t.

If that sounds like you, get ready to fall short of your career goals. Hear me out. I think the issue is that most people have a really skewed view of what networking is.

 Networking is the building of mutually beneficial relationships that support our goals.

Notice that there is nothing in that definition about small talk with strangers, collecting business cards, or attending an event during which you consider sticking your fork in your eye so you can leave?  I am actually talking about real relationships with people you know or people you meet in the course of your business.

Step back for a minute. What are your business goals? Your professional goals? How do you plan to accomplish those goals? If you’ve given little or no thought to any of those questions, you are overdue to step back and consider them.

Many highly accomplished professionals find themselves without a network when they need it most. It’s no secret that the market is volatile, making the career market volatile as well. You would be well served to actively cultivate a network before you need it. But networking is not just a job search strategy. Make that mistake at your own peril.

Want to move up in your organization? Build a reputation in your community? Re-configure your work life due to a change in your personal life? Thinking ahead to retirement? A job or career change? Given that we get things done through others, the relationships we build are clearly critical to reaching our goals.

Now I’m going to get really radical here and say that Introverts have the ability to be better networkers than extroverts. Yep. It’s true.

If you buy my definition, then you will also buy that we can’t build mutually beneficial relationships without LISTENING. And you know that introverts are better listeners. Extraverts are just waiting for you to shut up so they can talk again.

Your ability to build and maintain key relationships is critical – relationships inside your department, cross-functionally, with professionals in other organizations in similar roles, with recruiters, etc. To a great extent, you are the product. And in your relationships, you teach people who you are, what you do, what your organization does, what your goals are- and you learn theirs.

Written by Julie Bauke

If you enjoyed this blog, here is another networking blog by Julie: Overcoming 3 Networking Misconceptions. 

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Julie Bauke is the President of The Bauke Group, a Career Happiness Firm. She has been widely quoted in national publications, been featured on numerous radio shows and is the Careers and Jobs Expert on Cincinnati’s Fox19 TV (Raycom Media), 700WLW Radio (Clear Channel) and the host of “Get Career Happy with Julie Bauke” on iHeart radio. She is the author of “Stop Peeing On Your Shoes: Avoiding the 7 Mistakes that Screw Up your Job Search”.

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  • Mary Bogan

    As a poster child for introverts, what Julie says makes sense. It boils down to taking an interest in others — asking them about themselves and telling them about you. Take it one person at a time and this is doable and anxiety-free!