How to Network as an Introvert to Successfully Grow Your Business

Navigating the world of networking can be challenging, especially for those of us who identify as introverts. However, with the right strategies and mindset, even the most reserved among us can cultivate meaningful, long-lasting relationships.

In this post, I’ll share my personal journey and insights on building a billion-dollar network as an introvert.

Yaniv Masjedi
CMO, Nextiva

Their expertise has helped Nextiva grow its brand and overall business

Unlock Networking Success

Networking as an Introvert

Starting out, I remember the days when my podcast garnered a mere nine downloads a day (this is what the first iteration looked like. Nice, right? But still only nine downloads a day!):

Growth Everywhere podcast

It was a humble beginning, but I believed in the value of what I was doing. Over time, with patience and persistence, those numbers grew. But, more importantly, I was able to connect with some truly incredible individuals.

For many introverts, networking can be a daunting task. In crowded rooms, filled with chatter and unfamiliar faces, an introvert might feel out of place or overwhelmed.

They might find it hard to initiate conversations or feel drained rapidly in high-energy environments. There’s also a risk of being overshadowed by more extroverted personalities, which can lead to missed opportunities. Over-reliance on digital platforms, while more comfortable, might also limit the depth of real-world interactions.

But introverts often have certain traits that can actually make them masterful networkers.

One of the key advantages is their natural ability to listen deeply and connect on a more profound level. Instead of spreading themselves thin by trying to meet everyone in the room, introverts tend to focus on forming a few meaningful connections. Moreover, their thoughtful and introspective nature can make their conversations more engaging and memorable.

So, with the right strategies, like choosing smaller, more intimate networking events, introverts don’t need to feel daunted or left out of the networking realm.

The key takeaway here is that it’s not about the immediate results, but rather the long-term connections and continuous learning.

Why You Should Build Your Network by Creating a Media Empire

One thing I’ve learned is that consistency is crucial.

My two podcasts, Leveling Up (formerly Growth Everywhere) and Marketing School, have now reached nearly 100 million downloads. This success didn’t come overnight, but was the result of a systematic approach. Regardless of personal or professional challenges, it’s essential to release content regularly and stay committed to your audience.

If I were to start my networking journey today, my focus would be on long-form podcasts, complemented by video content. This approach not only allows for content repurposing but also maximizes reach across various platforms, from TikTok and Reels to traditional audio channels.

The goal is to leverage the popularity of guests to boost your own visibility and reach.

For me, genuine relationships go beyond mere business transactions. My strategy has always revolved around being a connector. If I know that Bob needs something and I know that Sally has that something, I’m going try to make that connection. It’s free to make these connections, and eventually you become known as the connector.

And what ends up happening is that you will be paid back in spades – not that you’re expecting to be paid back, but at the end of the day people like to do business with other people.

And if you’re the one that’s being helpful all the time, people are going to remember that.

This innate ability of the introvert to understand and empathize allows them to perceive potential synergies between people that others might overlook. By positioning themselves as connectors, introverts can leverage their introspective qualities to identify mutual interests or complementary skills among their acquaintances.

Instead of trying to be the most interesting person in the room, aim to be the most interested.

And the bonus is that you won’t even really need to try to get business, because people just naturally know that you are the person when it comes to X, Y, Z. And if you do that enough, guaranteed you’re going to be able to compound that network over time.

The Power of Hosting Your Own Events as an Introvert

Ever since the beginning, I’ve always taken the initiative to host events. I would manage things on my own, like hosting small masterminds at my place (that’s the back of my head in the front!):

Eric Siu networking dinner event

But my networking dinners weren’t always so nice.

Back then, I was a marketing director, so I gathered a group of fellow marketing directors, and perhaps a few Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs), for these sessions. During one of our initial meetings, the only food I had to offer was a half-eaten bag of chips! Of course, the essence of our gatherings was not about food or fancy arrangements. Instead, it was about sharing knowledge — discussing what strategies were working for us, the challenges we faced, and building camaraderie.

The best part? It didn’t cost me a dime. Personally, I don’t enjoy being the center of attention, nor do I like attending events where I have to approach strangers. So, I found my method — creating my own experiences where I select the venue, I choose the food and drink, I set the agenda, and I decide on the theme.

I’ve had the privilege of hosting several masterminds, and I can’t emphasize enough the value of in-person interactions for building deep, meaningful connections.

The Value of Joining Peer Groups

I’ll tell you, even as an introvert, you won’t be able to build a strong network unless you meet people in person. This is where the magic happens. It’s in these face-to-face interactions that you truly bond and connect with someone, laying the foundation for long-term relationships.

Watching a video or engaging in distant communication might give you an insight into someone, but it remains largely transactional. So don’t forget the significance of peer groups.

In my early days, even before I embraced entrepreneurship, I reached out to an established entrepreneur. I inquired about the most impactful decision of his entrepreneurial journey. Without hesitation, he mentioned his association with the Entrepreneurs Organization:

Home page of Entrepreneurs' Organization website

Intrigued, especially as a 25-year-old looking for guidance, I researched what this group was. I learned that to be part of the Entrepreneurs Organization, you to be a founder of a business generating a million dollars a year. I remember thinking ‘Oh my god, how will I ever achieve that?!’

Yet, just two years later, I joined the Entrepreneurs Organization. Over time, I considered other affiliations and eventually became a member of a group called YPO (Young Presidents’ Organization).

The crux of my message is that numerous groups cater to various professionals. Whether they’re entrepreneurial circles, peer groups for marketers, or investor associations like Tiger 21 and Hampton, there’s something for everyone. An important insight to grasp is that as you aim for more elite and high-level circles, the environment becomes more rarefied. But it’s fundamentally about community.

For instance, when I attend conferences like TED, a simple question like “Are you a member of YPO or EO?” can foster instant camaraderie. Recognizing someone from the same organization means we share common experiences, understand the challenges faced, and appreciate the journey. These shared affiliations provide a sense of belonging and connection, which can ultimately help you grow your business.

Time and Focus: The Pillars of Growth

Patience is paramount. Networking is a marathon, not a sprint. Building a robust network doesn’t happen overnight – especially for an introvert. It requires time, focus and genuine efforts to offer value to others.

But I hope by sharing my own journey as an introvert, I’ve inspired you to use your inherent traits to go after what you want, whether that’s building a billion dollar business or starting a small, intimate artisanal craft shop in your local community.

Remember: Your net worth is intrinsically linked to your network.

If you’re ready to get out there and grow your business, Single Grain’s growth marketing experts can help!👇

Unlock Networking Success

 

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