Walter Chen on how to schmooze when you're an introvert is simple and brilliant:
- Support others
- Treat everyone the same
As most people know, being an introvert doesn't mean that you can't interact with other people, it just means that you find those interactions draining (whereas extroverts, generally speaking, get their energy from being around people). I know a lot of 'hidden' introverts, folk who seem outgoing to those who don't know them but actually need a lot of time to recharge their batteries after an encounter.
For those of us who are introverts internet has made life considerably easier. Social media is one method of networking that doesn't make you feel like the awkward soul gawking in the corner. It's never been easier to follow Chen's recommendations while still taking care of your well-being.
Ultimately, to network, for me, is an attempt to connect with another person in a meaningful way — that’s a platitude, but schmoozing is 95% in the mindset. Choose a mindset that’s not limiting, but empowering, and you’ll make schmoozing effective on your own terms. You can be yourself — a good, stand-up person — and still effectively schmooze. I do my best to treat every person I meet the same. When it’s time to talk to an important person, I’m empowered to treat them as good as I treat anyone else. So many of our industry connections with influential people have come through treating everyone who comes through our customer support pipeline with the same high level of consideration and care.