Networking for people who hate networking …

… is the title of a great book by Devora Zack.

Zack is keen to reframe networking “as an opportunity to create meaningful connections, requiring skills such as listening, focus and depth”. Her key point is that introverts should not try to be extroverts – it simply won’t work – but encourages them instead to focus on the gifts introverts have. Having said that, Zack is careful to dispel stereotypes about introverts and extroverts and points out that there are variations within these broad categories and everyone has bits and pieces of both traits. There are also those who end up in the middle and Zack calls these folks centroverts.

If this sounds all like a load of nonsense, I have to say I’m an introvert, although I don’t come across as that to some, and I found this book hugely helpful. And I don’t actually hate networking, I just feel I am very clumsy at it sometimes. My level of introversion really depends on what situation I am in, and how I am feeling. I do genuinely enjoy talking to people and finding out what makes me tick.  What frustrates me is that networking skills don’t always feel that they come easy to me. I may turn up to occasions that present a fantastic networking opportunity only to feel somewhat “struck dumb” and have no idea of how to strike up conversations with people. Zack suggests three strategies for introverts – pause (research), process (focus) and pace (restore).

So what are these 3 Ps all about?

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