Networking Mastery for Introverts: How to Talk with Someone You Don’t Know
Introverts are great at conversations. That might come as a surprise as some people, including introverts, think that talking to others doesn’t happen much.
1- How to start a conversation with someone you don’t know and have no common ground and
2- What to talk about (because we tend to talk when we have a purpose or mission with what we say)
It’s almost like if the first issue doesn’t trip you up, the second one will. Introverts are actors, politicians and yes, even speakers. All of those acts have two things in common: they are planned and have a purpose.
When those two ingredients are missing, such as going to a party or networking event, it’s like looking into the black hole. It can be frightening.
Over the years, I have taken my usual process oriented approach to this problem. I came up with what I call “scripts” to use for such occasions. I crafted those scripts to deal with the first issues you face (outlined above). I then practice them as if I were a sales person or actor so they come naturally.
Let me give you an example for an opening script I might use:
1- Hi, I’m Dorothy Tannahill-Moran. [They respond with their name]
2- I’m new to this group. How long have you participated? [Response]
3- What are the things you like best about being part of this group? [Longer response because now they really have to think]
Obviously, at some point, you are beyond the start of your conversation and that has another dynamic we’ll outline at another time. What this does is to give you a nice, slow “ramp up” to a full-fledged conversation. The questions are based on what little common ground you have – which is whatever event you are both attending.
Something to point out with this opening script is the “what” question. “What” questions automatically cause the recipient to have to dig into their mind for a fairly meaningful response. This is a coaching technique I learned (oops maybe that was a secret). Because it is a deeper type of open-ended question, you are starting to connect with the other person rather than stay superficial. It helps to bypass the awkwardness of short, abrupt “yes” or “no” responses.
Notice that this example script is only 3 questions. You don’t have to script out a novel. You need to script out an opening that sets you both up for meaningful conversation.
I have noticed that many things come naturally to others like “working the room”. For me, when I can devise a set of steps to follow, I can accomplish the same, career enhancing goals = develop my network.
Brought to you by Dorothy Tannahill-Moran – dedicated to unleash your professional potential.