It won't surprise people that know me that when Jason Haley points to an article titled "How To Network: For Introverts", I am of course going to read it. By almost anyone's scale, I am an introvert, and "networking" is one of the single hardest things for me to do.
A typical schedule for the SQL Server User Group meeting that I attend in Melbourne will go something like "5:30-6:00 Networking and Pizza; 6:00-7:30 Presentation". My brain translates this as "5:30-6:00 stand around, look out the window, browse a book and eat a couple of slices of pizza, 6:00-7:30 the important time". Of course I'll say hello to people I know, and I've generally got a pretty good memory for names, but more often than not I'll grab something to eat and sit in the presentation room to wait for the start of the speaker's talk.
The article highlights something I didn't know but probably guessed: that introverts would want other people to give them respect/value based on their ideas, not necessarily what they do:
Yes, I realize you would rather be accepted for what you think and know, but the truth is that the world measures you by what you do.
I'm very hesitant to talk about the exact technical things I do because to me they're a) not that interesting and b) not in line with the cool stuff I read about and am trying to get to eventually (insert cool technology here: DDD, XP, Scrum, Continuous Integration, etc.) One of the most painful discussions I have ever had was when I was talking to a guy I hadn't seen for some years (but I knew he was a successful developer) and found myself downplaying the work I did and skills I had to the point where I was almost apologising for what I did. Urk.
Anyway, there is hope. I always thought I had some sort of problem in that social engagements were (and still are) a frightening thing, but the more I read the more I realise that there's other people in the same boat, and there's ways for me to feel more comfortable in those situations.
Tags: personal, networking, social, introvert
posted @ Sunday, December 10, 2006 8:21 PM