Networking for Introverts!

One exciting aspect of working in Mergers and Acquisitions is that we are always learning. I had a recent learning experience after a colleague invited me to a meeting of The Association for Corporate Growth (ACG), an organization that provides a networking forum for M&A advisors, corporate growth professionals, private equity, finance, legal and other professional service providers. Over the course of this particular meeting, I met and had interesting conversations with at least a dozen professionals, and agreed to follow up with several of them. Afterward my host commented to me, “You are so comfortable introducing yourself and making friends with new people; I wish I was an extrovert.”
I was dumbfounded because I have always seen myself as an introvert. I wrote off his observation until I spotted this article last week in Fast Company magazine on the subject of introversion and networking — HOW INTROVERTS CAN NETWORK WITHOUT LOSING THEIR MINDS, a survival guide for making the most of a networking event, or everyday opportunities, as someone who’d rather run the other way.
My main take away from the article was  that “introvert” and “extrovert” ARE NOT necessarily synonymous with “shy” and “outgoing.” According to the author, shyness is a fear of negative judgment, while introversion is simply a preference for quiet, minimally stimulating environments. Extroverts on the other hand recharge their batteries by interacting with other people in highly social environments. Read the entire Fast Company article here.
Now I place myself at the center of the introvert-extrovert continuum. When I’m not working I like my solitude, and spending time with family and close friends. In my work I thoroughly enjoy connecting with people one on one and making new friends. I love hearing their stories, learning about their services and the types of projects they are involved in, and understanding their perspectives. I  also like to connect people and help out where I can.
Networking is an essential proclivity for M&A brokers. My bigger challenge, like a lot of busy professionals, is serving clients AND finding time to network. Now back to work!

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