You’re probably familiar with the old quote: It’s not what you know; it’s who you know. We think it’s what you know AND who you know. But the point is still valid – it pays to know people. So meeting new people is essential to building your career.
Lyndsey Pollak, a blogger for The Huffington Post, recently wrote about this subject in her post, Why Shy People Make Great Networkers. There’s a negative connotation associated with shyness.
Yet, according to Marti Laney, in her book, The Introvert Advantage: How to Thrive in an Extrovert World, 60 percent of the people that are considered “intellectually gifted” are shy. People like Albert Einstein and Bill Gates. Pretty good company, huh?
So being shy can work to your advantage, even in networking. Here’s how:
Ask for referrals from people you know.
It’s more comfortable reaching out to someone when you have a common connection. It’s much easier because you can open with a mention of your shared friend. Plus you can develop relationships faster because you build upon the bond the two of you already have with your mutual acquaintance.
Ask more questions.
By their very nature, shy people talk less, and listen more. And they listen intently. That’s an advantage in following up. You’re able to bring up something you learned in your last conversation to launch your next one.
Most people love to talk about themselves. Shy people play into this natural tendency. That makes them more likeable. Which makes them more memorable!
Bring a friend.
If you’d feel more comfortable with someone by your side, then bring them along! You’ll be more at ease, so you’ll be more likely to reach out to strangers.
Networking experts usually advise against this, with good reason. They fear that you’ll be “wallflowers.” Resist that tendency with all your being!
Pollak suggests that you bring the most extroverted friend you know. Let him or her reach out to people. Of course, you’ll chime in once the conversation has started.
If I’m shy, you must not be …
Pollak cites studies that show that 40 to 50 percent of all people describe themselves as “shy.” Remember this the next time you want to reach out to someone.
If you’re shy, chances are they’re not. Just get the conversation started and they’ll run with it! If you’re not shy, chances are they are. They’ll welcome you initiating a conversation.
Our bigg quote today is by Rachel Naomi Remen, the educator and author.
“The most basic and powerful way to connect to another person
is to listen. Just listen. Perhaps the most important thing we ever
give each other is our attention. A loving silence often has far more
power to heal and to connect than the most well-intentioned words.”
So don’t be shy about listening … to people you know, to people you just met. Paying attention pays off!
Make it a goal this year to meet new people. Speaking of that, we’ve developed The Bigg Goal-Setting Workbook, which you can download free when you subscribe to our free weekly newsletter. Check it out today!
Next time, we’ll ask the question, “Does it pay to be smart?” We’ll talk about what your IQ says about how rich you’ll be. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!