Prune Back Your Online and In-person Networking to Improve Your Business

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We’ve been with the same landscaper for 11 years. This year it was time for some replanting. After all, plants can get so over grown they start to creep into other plants, looking scraggly and otherwise unattractive. Then at one of the semi-annual pruning I noticed the Abelia Mardi Gras – don’t you love that name? – was pruned back hard. That got me thinking, why not prune back the in-your face kind of networking you find yourself in?

In a cold winter some plants thin.
Many people find networking events these days to be cold and too me-focused. For an introvert this can be one of the worst situations and can cause us to want to crawl further into a corner. Well, why the heck not!? After all is there anyone who wants to hear another person speak all about themselves, ad nauseam. The whole time you feel the pruning shears wearing you down. Think about the last event you attended. Which did you enjoy more? The one where you listened to someone drag on about me-my-I? Or the one where someone took time to listen as they encouraged you to you talk? Let your networking events settle into a winter kind of event with the me-my-I taking back seat to asking questions of the person you meet.

Some plants bloom all summer with a lovely pink flower.
Online networking is a place to exercise a bit more self-control with the built in time-to-think factor. Social media often resembles in-person networking. You can find venues where members act the way the phrase starts – online social. Imagine ME an introvert explaining social networking! Isn’t that ironic? But I find the very people who are what my UK partner and I call shark networkers, are both in your face when you meet in person, and in your invitation box on LinkedIn, FaceBook or Twitter. It’s your ego that gets you to push what you have in people’s emails (their face and ears.) Instead, get better results and start slow, and then keep the conversation moving forward and it might just sprout into something better.

There are different variations of some plants so don’t get confused.
Like the Abelia with the variations of Mardi Gras, Kaleidoscope and Twist of Lime, often the unknowing confuse an introvert with being anti-social, shy, aloof or boring. To all networkers who are still trying to attract and engage all people the same way, you are confused with what appeals to the more introverted and the more extroverted so understand the difference! We prefer you to avoid all the fluff and hype; we want high value talk. We thrive one-to-one so if you think the solution you have might solve our problem, follow-up to connect with us one to one. Some people might put up with your idle chatter and actually be engaged with it. But we introverts are different so don’t confuse us.

Introverts thrive best being who we are instead of going at things like an extrovert. So extroverts give yourself a kind of green thumb in networking:

– Shear away the yackety yack!

– If you think we have a match as customer, collaborator, referral partner then let’s meet away from the maddening crowd.

– And please, never think I’m not engaged because I’m shy or any other darn myth you’ve heard. I just find your ego exhausting for me and need to do a bit of pruning for my own benefit.

What kind of behaviors, actions or beliefs would you like to prune back in networking?

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  1. Geek Girl

    Boy did you ever hit the nail on the head with this post! Well done! 🙂
    Geek Girl recently posted…Motivational Monday August 6My Profile

  2. How terrific that you are in a new “garden.” That allows you to make the kind of assessments early on as to do you stay or do you go.

    Let me know, and are commenters, if you have a question you want to bounce around. I’m personally glad to help.


  3. Susan Cooper

    That is a very good question. I am in a new “garden”, still experimenting with different “plants”. The big question for me is what will thrive and what won’t. You migt say I am a ways away from the pruning stage. I am at a point where I believe it’s time to ask for help. Now comes the part where you question where to go for advice and who to ask … 🙂
    Susan Cooper recently posted…Figs & Honey Dessert RecipeMy Profile

  4. Geek Girl I trust your comment to mean, you’ve have those similar experiences?

  5. A.K. I’m just not sure why people think it’s an attractive way to network by always having it be about themselves. I think we could all agree, we know plenty about ourselves. Wouldn’t it be terrific if in networking we tried, JUST tried, to learn about the other person first.


  6. A.K.Andrew says

    I’m like Susan – relatively new to ‘gardening’- great analogy BTW – so its a case if trial & error to see what works . In my case I’m trying to build an authors platform. But I completely agree with you about the full on, in yr face people in social media. They are just as objectionable as I’d find them in person.
    Why di they not understand we dont all want full on 24/7.
    Really good post. Thank you.
    A.K.Andrew recently posted…Do You Want to Change The Use of Space in Your Home?My Profile

  7. Rick Salas says

    Hi Patricia, I couldn’t agree more. Most people have heard of the information highway and think that it’s a way to make big money without putting in the effort. It takes skills and experience in creating content that leads to a solution to your target markets most unmet need. It’s just that most people don’t want to learn first.
    I’m still learning myself and know I always be…if I want to help people and create a win win situation for my target market. Thanks for posting this information. I really enjoyed the read!

    Rick Salas recently posted…5 Major Wealth Creation Secrets To A Solid Online BusinessMy Profile

  8. Rick I think YOU are on to something. With the information highway, maybe that is influencing in-person networking in a bad way. After all, I would estimate that I only move the conversation along with about 1% of the people who I connect with online. The other 99% I scratch my head about, why did we connect?


  9. Leora

    I’ve had some good networking experiences and some where I’d love to crawl back under some un-pruned bush. You are so right about people talking too much about themselves. My favorite experiences have been where I’ve been invited to talk about social media. I try hard to engage the audience and relate to their experiences – it becomes like a conversation. I find it helps when you are not walking into a room cold but you at least know some people.

    Online networking has gone well for me – I will continue on that journey!
    Leora recently posted…9 Posts on Website SecurityMy Profile

  10. Bindhurani

    I am an on and off person in social media, especially on Twitter. I like to re-tweet interesting tweets by people. When I shared posts on my Facebook page, many people commented and liked them.
    Bindhurani recently posted…Philosophical?My Profile

  11. Sherryl Perry

    Hi Patricia,
    When you talk about how introverts receive (and give) information differently from extraverts, it reminds me of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) assessment. In the past, I’ve attended seminars focused around selling (and working with) different people based upon their personality type. There’s really a lot to it and it can make the difference between making a breaking a sale.

    I’ve always found that it’s best to build relationships first. That’s something that most introverts do well. It goes back to listening more than talking.
    Sherryl Perry recently posted…4 Tips You Should Know When You Start BloggingMy Profile

  12. Leora, I had a workshop participant comment privately to me during break, when I had already brought up the yakkety yak. She whipped, “You are so right I mean, don’t we already know enough about ourselves? Aren’t we supposed to be learning about the other people we meet?”

    Thanks for commenting on your experiences.

  13. Hi Bindhurani! Sounds like things are working well for you online – bravissimo!

  14. You’re so right Sherryl. Both knowing your style and understanding differences in others and USING that information is a real plus in building relationships.


  15. Johnny Bravo says

    Hi Patricia, great analogy. Networking is a process, not an event and it should be about helping others, not yourself.

    If more people realized that both online and offline the business world might be a different place.
    Johnny Bravo recently posted…Don’t Burn Yourself OutMy Profile

  16. Martin Casper says

    Patricia…what a great analogy. I found it very intriguing. I used to own a high end landscape design firm and understand what you may be experiencing. I can also appreciate your comments RE: individuals who love to continually talk about themselves. I sometimes refer to them as “pseudo-intellectuals” They are very impressed with their lack of knowledge. Social media was created to develop authentic relationships in ways not possible prior to the internet, but often times it is seen as morphing into diarrhea of the ego, sad to say…thanks!

  17. Johnny I wonder what it will take for that realization. Not much has changed since I reestablished myself in business in 2005. Even previous to that things were pretty much, me-my-I. Sigh. I guess, we just continue to lead by example.

  18. Those “pseudo-intellectuals” are everywhere Martin. And it is sad that it continues to grow. But I am finding that lately, I’ve begun to attract them less and less. Thanks.

  19. Thanks Mandy. I follow your blog so I’ll be looking for your announcement of this new type of networking event. I’ve often thought about creating something via Meetup but alas – I have higher priorities that are both more energizing and a better ROI.

    Keep us posted!

  20. Wow, I love this post! I’ve always thought there is an opening for a different type of networking event, one where people are encouraged to work in smaller groups and share within their group. It’s how I work with young people. They want to talk, but not in a huge group, and prefer that to having to listen to someone else talk. So at what point will I step up and start offering marketing event organisers the benefit of my ideas? Well I’m working on it! Great post, you are so right!

    Enjoy the journey.

    Mandy Allen recently posted…Making Sure Your Video Is CentredMy Profile

  21. Adeline Yuboco says

    I love the way how you made the analogy between plants and online networking. Like you, I get so irritated with those people with an I’m-so-great attitude. Whenever I come across those kinds of people, I immediately shut away everything. For me, it’s not about being shy or not engaging. Rather, it’s more about whether you’re worth my time and attention. If the person doesn’t even bother to take some time to connect with me by learning a little bit about me, why should I bother connecting and trying to find out what they have to say.
    Adeline Yuboco recently posted…Help the Flood Victims of Typhoon GenerMy Profile

  22. Thanks! It’s either plants or just an analogy that worked for this post.

    I totally relate. It’s more about, “You already know everything about yourself! How about taking some time to get to know me.”

    it drives me crazy for sure.


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