By Christine Donovan
How many times have you stood at the entrance to a networking mixer frozen in fear? “A root canal would be easier than this,” you say to yourself. Having to make small talk with strangers, trying to be interesting and charming, is not your strength nor your idea of a good time. But you believe that if you can just endure this for an hour, you might walk away with some valuable new contacts. The reality is that your discomfort often has negative results, and you don’t gain the new relationships you had sought.
In the 1930s, Swiss psychologist Carl Jung coined the term introvert as someone who tends to find his psychological energy within… in the world of thought, contemplation and reflection. This inward focus can result in a tendency to pull back and maintain a safe distance, especially around new people.
In the world of networking, introverts can face a long list of daunting challenges – not the least of which is sending nonverbal messages that may be misinterpreted as aloofness. And “aloof” is not a good message when your purpose is to mix, mingle, and foster new relationships.