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I met Brenda and took the MBTI… I had a fairly good understanding of these types before the meeting but was impressed by the depth of knowledge that Brenda shared with me. She clearly has a passion for this work and a gift in imparting the information. There have been doors opened for me because of our talks… — Alan Hintermeister
Alan Hintermeister
During one of the harder times in my life I found Brenda’s website
and reached out to her. To say the least it has been one of the best
decisions I have made. Being an extrovert I never quite understood
what it meant to romantically involved with an introvert. Brenda does
an incredible job listening, giving in the moment feedback, and helped
me understand the how an introvert functions. She helped explain to me
that I am introspective extrovert, and this gave something to identify
with and allowed me t…
Evan H.
Your words are my lifeline.  I sit down to your posts and as I read I can feel my acceptance of myself and my needs grow.  Your words validate my feelings about my life, motherhood, relationships and it is something I hold onto.  And during the times when I feel like I am not able to be a mother or a wife or a sister or a friend or whatever someone needs me to be, I go back to your words and find some peace…I send your posts to my husband when I need him to understand that I love him but I need …
D.R.
Because of your blog, I know that it is possible for me to have the love that I want one day and that I don’t have to be alone.  — Indepthwoman  on space2live
Indepthwoman
I have been dating an introverted man who I am very in love with for almost 2 years.  Reading your posts have helped me to be more supportive and understanding to him especially during the times when he needs space.  I just wanted to thank you for your weekly posts and let you know how helpful they are for someone who is in a relationship with an introvert. C.M. on space2live
C.M.

“I was struggling with my daughter (16 at the time) and our constant fighting. You said something to me that changed my life! You were speaking about your own situation and you said to me “my child could not handle my emotions”. This was a HUGE “lightbulb moment” for me and it forever changed the way I dealt with my emotions when I was around my daughter!

I am happy to say that things have never been better between my soon to be 18 year old daughter and myself! I honestly never thought we would…

Mom M
I think I want to print out your articles and hand them out as a sort of relationship waiver form. “You want to be my friend?….You are interesting in going out? Here read this first. Sign here to acknowledge that you have read and understand the enclosed material. Thank you.” Seriously. I think it would work. — Guerin Moorman
Guerin Moorman
THANK YOU….. you just summed up my swirling thoughts into something i can read with out everything else in my head meshing with it. I finally feel like i can explain what happens within without getting distracted. I’m an Introvert with ADD and it makes it so hard to explain quite what im feeling sometimes. — M.G. on space2live
M.G.
your depth of understanding, and talent at sharing it amaze me. Speechless… and for your sharing of it.. Thank you… deeply. *sigh, its like coming back into my body through acceptance….. Sherrie on space2live
Sherrie
Brenda has truly opened up a space for introverted types on the ‘net, and her self-revelations are always inspiring. Her voice is one I always look forward to. She is one of the writers that actually played a part in my return to writing.  — S.E. of Sunflower Solace Farms
S.E. of Sunflower Solace Farms

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Introvert Networking: Surviving and Shining While Self-Promoting

embarrassed-girlI feel the warm hot flush rise from my neck, to my ears and finally blasting my  face scarlet.   A circle of eyes focus on me as I try to articulate what it is I write about and why.  I am pushing my introverted self. I’m networking after a speaking event at the Woman’s Club in Minneapolis. Dear God, networking. Extemporaneous talking to people I don’t know about a subject I’m only marginally inspired by. Realizing I am in the position of observed rather than observer, my words catch and my voice weakens.  I  recover, sort of.  I hear the rush of blood in my ears. I wonder if I am making any sense at all.

I knew this part of the evening would bring dis-ease.  I’ve never been comfortable with self-promotion and gregariousness in general. How much can I rely on my friend to hold up the conversations? If I could just find one or two kind souls to talk to me until it’s OK to leave. My friend gently but insistently puts me in the limelight.  He is not afraid to tout my writing, why am I? Will this ever get easier?

My mind churns sluggishly as I absorb the names, words and key information about individuals I encounter. I meet them one or two at a time thankfully and the name tags name taghelp.  As I meet someone new and my brain processes their name and game, they ask me to tell my story or they utter the inevitable, What do you do? 

Me?, I get flustered at functions with strategic mingling.

Shit, everyone is trading business cards like observations about the weather.  They seem so adept and natural at this game. I am so not.  I dig out cards one by one and have to explain the mediator title on my card.  I have the qualifications to be a mediator but have never actually practiced.  Intuitively, I know mediation is not my calling but explaining this to strangers feels flakey. Note to self: get new cards.

Introvert Winning! How We Work the Room

There are beautiful listeners in the crowd.  The listen with their ears and eyes. I gravitate toward them.  I want to be them.  Listening is so easy and natural for me.  Speaking succinctly and cohesively in large chunks is difficult. It helps if I share a story  — a short one about something meaningful, preferably one with an eye twinkling finish.

It’s also easy for me to ask questions.  I love to ask questions.  I always want to know people on a deeper level, so curiosity nudges me to inquire about someone’s favorite moment or how they felt when such and such happened. I then employ my freakin’ amazing head -nodding, eye-contact maintaining, word absorbing, skills as they answer. The questions usually generate a nice flow of back and forth banter that satisfies my need for connection as well as the other person’s desire to talk about themselves and be deeply heard. Win-win.

I am so grateful for those who draw me out by asking me questions or who find me a kindred spirit because small talk anesthetizes their brains too.

I like to attend networking events with someone who is a conversation initiator and who won’t let me become part of the woodwork. Tonight my friend introduces me to those he knows and asks me easy questions in front of them.  He points out my applicable experience or strength when it fits in the dialogue. He’s equal parts introvert and extrovert so understands my tendencies but also has the chutzpah to lead conversations. Every introvert should have such a friend at a party/event. Rent-an-ambivert.;)

Introvert Dreaming

I made it through the evening without retreating to the ladies room once. Sometimes that closed bathroom stall is a necessary breather and momentary happy place. Tonight, I gently re-entered the arena of professional connecting and survived.  I believe with practice my comfort level will grow.  Maybe I’ll host a networking event at my house, give a speech and ask people to subscribe to my blog.  Bahahaha!  Ok… it could happen.

How are you at professional mingling? Do you have a strength? A weakness? Would you rather network or have your nose-hairs plucked? 

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8 Comments

  1. Patty May 4, 2013 at 10:44 am - Reply

    “Everyone is trading business cards like observations about the weather. They seem so adept and natural at this game.” I chuckled inside as I read this and then thought: Is it that they are natural, or just following the masses like a flock of sheep because that’s what everyone does? As an introvert, I notice how people do things because others do things. I don’t. At least I try not to, and only do if it is necessary. I, too, am uncomfortable in these types of situations as well and I prefer not to engage just because I am supposed to. The ones who we are attracted to, and are attracted to us, are the ones that come forward and usually connect to immediately. I appreciate you and your blog! Thanks. 🙂

    • brennagee May 4, 2013 at 11:12 pm - Reply

      It is interesting to observe, as we introverts do, and see who is blindly following custom and who is not. I watch my children and see that there is a good amount of following but also, to my delight, the occasional refusal to do things without question. I was a follower for many years. I never thought I had the creativity, charisma or leadership skills to spearhead my own way. I’m braver now, mostly because I have learned from others willing to take the path less traveled. They have employed courage and survived. It was fun being a little different at this event and having it work for me. I didn’t have the routines down pat so I did things the way that felt right for me.

      Thanks for your insight. I truly appreciate it.:)

  2. Steven Barer May 4, 2013 at 1:29 am - Reply

    loved it, and bravo for stretching yourself

    • brennagee May 4, 2013 at 11:02 pm - Reply

      Thank you for commenting and the ‘bravo’.:) Always a work in progress.

  3. Psyche Awoken May 3, 2013 at 11:42 pm - Reply

    Hi,

    I’m with Doug on this one. Nose hairs plucked is my choice too as long as the conversation is about self-promotion. If I was the friend attending with you, Brenna, my ambivert self would be blissfully happy revealing your gifts to others:-)

    PsycheAwoken

    • brennagee May 4, 2013 at 11:01 pm - Reply

      Awww thank you for your kind support.:) I have to say most of the people I met at the function were open to all kinds of discussions. It wasn’t all glad-handing and posturing.

      Sometimes I wonder if I am a bit of an ambivert…

  4. Doug Toft May 3, 2013 at 3:50 pm - Reply

    I’d go for the nose hairs any day. Thanks for clearly articulating the inner world of an introvert in this circumstance. Check out Book Yourself Solid by Michael Port for lots of good ideas about connecting with people—alternatives to the standard, mind-numbing networking event. He has a good chapter about describing what you do WITHOUT an elevator pitch.

    • brennagee May 3, 2013 at 7:01 pm - Reply

      Thanks for the suggestion Doug. Yes, I’m still honing my elevator pitch. I think practice and preparation are key, especially for an introvert.:)

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