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I had the chance to read Matthew Pollard’s second book, The Introvert’s Edge to Networking. The book comes out in a few weeks and follows up his previous book called The Introvert’s Edge. As you’re probably picking up, these books are written by an introvert for those of us who are introverted.
In case this term is unfamiliar to you, I’d generally define introverts as people who draw energy from being alone and spend energy from being with people. By contrast, extroverts draw energy from being with people and spend energy being alone. Most of us enjoy being with people and being alone, but the defining characteristic is how it affects your energy levels.
Like his first book, this one is loaded with practical insights for how to leverage the best of your wiring. By far, the most helpful insight for me from this book was to prepare an answer to one of the most common questions asked when we meet new people: “What do you do for a living?”
Normally, we give a one-word answer. I’m a pastor, a realtor, a salesman, a teacher, an accountant, etc. The problem with these as answers—especially if you’re an introvert—is that it rarely leaves the other person wanting more. They put you into a box of other people they’ve met with that same profession and the conversation usually dies off from there (especially if they have bad examples of your profession, which has often been my experience).
As he explains in the book: “To truly succeed in strategic networking, you can’t bend yourself to what others want, or even what you mean to sell… Everything you do has to be authentic to who you are as a person and a professional.”
As a result, Pollard explains how you need to come up with something they’ve never heard of before and which will prompt them to ask you to explain it. As an introvert, this helps you guide a conversation without needing to come up with small talk (which we are not good at, to begin with).
This was especially timely for me as I was already wondering what to call myself these days. I still feel like a pastor (and I’m regularly speaking at churches around the country), but I’m not a full-time pastor in a church anymore. You may have seen that Michelle and I recently announced our new company called Communion Wine Co. that will create opportunities for us to bring people together around wine to experience Jesus in new ways (see: website).
After a bit of thought… I came up with my new title. I’m the Wine Pastor. This gives people enough context since they are likely familiar with wine and also familiar with what a pastor does, but most people have never seen the two put together like this (I hadn’t either). That gives me a chance to tell them more about what I’m passionate about and we can see where the conversation goes from there.
And that’s just one of the steps the book encourages. If you are introverted, I’d encourage you to give it a read and see how it allows you to be more intentional and even excited to meet people you don’t already know.
Click here to preorder a copy on Amazon.To truly succeed in strategic networking, you can’t bend yourself to what others want, or even what you mean to sell… Everything you do has to be authentic to who you are as a person and a professional. @MatthewPollard_ Click To Tweet