How To Connect If You Are An Introvert

Most people who know me would be surprised to hear that I’m an introvert. 

     It’s only been in the last few years that I’ve acknowledged this. Looking back, it really should have come as no surprise. Just because someone values connection doesn’t mean they are an extrovert. It just shows that they are willing to get uncomfortable to do something they know is important and life nourishing. 

     And even though I wrote a book titled The Wealth of Connection, please understand that connections with humans are often draining for me. I think people often get hung up on connections- and the dreaded word networking- and believe that one needs to be an outgoing extrovert to be great in that area. 

     I should have known that I was an introvert when I used to take the subway to baseball games by myself when I was a teenager. I should have known when I booked a round trip flight to Chicago to take a two-week trip, by myself, to take pictures in different stadiums throughout the midwest. I should have known after never feeling comfortable during countless networking meetups. I also should have known by always feeling drained after putting on or speaking at live events. 

     So how does someone who has built their entire career and businesses off of connection thrive in that area while being an introvert?

It’s because I have learned what gives me energy from it and what drains me from it. 

     For introverts, personal connection usually isn’t overwhelming. Introverts can have a one-on-one conversation and feel perfectly at home, even in a crowded situation. They often aren’t good with the ‘empty small talk’ that goes on during so many get-togethers. Personally, I can’t stand it. I don’t want to talk about the weather and I don’t want to be involved in a superficial conversation where I get a minute-long elevator speech pitched at me. 

     But get me into a small, meaningful conversation? That’s when you will see me come to life. I know I’m in my element when I meet someone, have a one-to-one conversation and before long they say they never open up like that. Us ‘loners’ have a way of making others feel comfortable in conversation because we’re not looking over their shoulder for the next group to jump into. We’re not doing the whole “speed networking thing” where we try to collect as many business cards as possible. We’re truly energized by a real, personal conversation. 

     More introverts need to hear that this is a connection superpower. Because when you can realize that connecting on a micro level has the most impact in a personal way, you will realize that playing the small game of connection through meaningful conversations has a much greater impact than being the center of attention that draws everyone towards them.

     I’ve had a bit of imposter syndrome since the book came out in May. When you publish a book about a topic, you realize quickly- whether you want to or not- that you are now seen as an authority in that field. There’s a reason why authority begins with the word author. And since the book is all about the power of connection, I often wonder how I’m looked at in social circles. If I wrote a book on a topic like connection, shouldn’t I be the one who is front and center, introducing myself to everyone? 

     The truth is, that’s not my nature. That is what an extroverted connector does. Because conversations of all types fuel their energy. When they leave those situations, they are jacked up. When myself and most introverts leave, there is relief and exhaustion. I’ve had to realize that the optimal way for me to connect in those situations is to take my time. If meaningful conversation is of the utmost importance, then rushing into any and every conversation makes no sense. 

     What I do is simple- and it no longer gives me concern. I do best when I wait. I no longer worry about being perceived as quiet in the beginning. That is my time to feel out the room. I listen. I observe. I watch body language, I hear the words that are spoken and I enter into a conversation when appropriate. 

     Although the beginning can be awkward, because so many people are involved in a variety of conversations, when those first conversations are initiated, it’s shocking how quickly they can turn to gold. For me, I get to see who is schmoozing, who makes eye contact and who asks questions. I get to hear about interests, passions, and stories. So when I do jump in, which, at this point, I’m excited to do- it becomes an engaging and meaningful conversation. Just the way I like it. 

     And I also realize that if I have just a handful of great conversations inside of an event with dozens or even hundreds of people, it’s a success. In fact, I have a standard that I go by when it comes to attending events or conferences. 

     If I can leave with one outstanding idea and three great conversations, it’s a great success. With those standards, it gives me the time to engage in meaningful connections without any rush. I can take my time, be curious and be open to their curiosity as well. And without a doubt, the greatest collaborations that have developed in my career have come from these exact situations. 

     So, introverts of the world- don’t despair about your introvertedness making you less likely to connect. You have a skill that will make people appreciate connecting with you more. And just like anything worthwhile- it’s not about volume- it’s about quality. 

     Introverts thrive on connections because they know that a few solid connections are infinitely more valuable than a hundred shallow ones. 

Have an AMAZING day!

-Vincent

I’ll be back next week!

In the meantime, I love adding options that can be a help to you!

1- I offer the audio version of my first book, Freelance to Freedom, absolutely FREE here. I was honored to have amazing people like Seth Godin and Pat Flynn to endorse the book. 

2- Grab a copy of my new book, The Wealth of Connection here. 

3- If you are looking for an amazing community of business owners to work through the loneliness of entrepreneurship, build amazing connections and create that business that provides you time, money and location freedom, check out The Total Life Freedom Mastermind Community here.

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