Introvert or extrovert: Does it matter when it comes to business development?

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introvert

It’s a rather obvious statement to say each individual has a unique personality, but of course there is a tendency to categorize people — and in doing so, to assess whether we are good matches for relationships and business opportunities.

So goes with the argument about whether introverts or extroverts make better business developers.

The argument of course is that the introvert would just as well be alone, or with a small group of people he/she knows well. Hardly the best character for networking or speaking engagements.

But I think that the story is much more complicated, because undoubtedly introverts can become very good business developers. Some shyness and an eagerness to listen rather than speak may be just the right thing in opening up the relationships and building business where it really counts.

In fact, the latter point is probably the best advice anyone can offer an introvert facing a business development or networking opportunity.

Rich Friedman, in a recent issue of the Society for Professional Services (SMPS) Marketer Magazine, offers several tips for introverts at networking events.

Among his observations:  “Listening, curiosity and solid preparations are key skills for identifying and understanding your clients’ and prospective clients’ needs. They’re also strong leadership skills.”

And: “Be yourself. Identify outreach activities that work for you and build your confidence by seizing the opportunities to practice them.”

If you are introverted, you can be exceptionally successful at business development. You may not want to fight the crowds, but you’ll certainly be much better at building rapport and connections with solid listening skills and an appreciation that quiet respect can be much more effective than social intensity.

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