Image: Liz Fosslien and Mollie West

For many introverts, Susan Cain’s TED talk about introversion was a much needed affirmation of the value of the quiet style. She articulated what many of us needed to hear: there’s nothing wrong with being an introvert. In fact, introverts have much to offer.

Susan Cain started two organizations–Quiet Revolution and the Quiet Leadership Institute–to support introverts, their families, and their work environments. I am delighted to announce that our new article, “The Art of Quiet Networking” has been published on both sites.

The Art of Quiet Networking tells my story. It shares how I progressed from an anxious, unhappy networker to someone who actually likes the process. My evolution depended on throwing out assumptions and imagining a different way of networking.

Here’s how the article begins:

Twenty years ago, I came to Washington, DC, with a vague sense that networking was important. If I wanted to pursue my dream of running my own organizational change consulting business, I’d better get good at it. I dutifully enrolled in an Adult and Continuing Education workshop on networking etiquette. I was the youngest in the room, but all of us shared a discomfort with the artificial acts required of us as networkers: meet someone brand new, connect quickly, find the synergy, collect the card, and then move on to the next conversation. I suspect about half of us would have described ourselves as introverts if we had known the word. By the end of the class, I was exhausted.

If you found that excerpt depressing, don’t worry. It gets much more positive from there!

To read how I made the shift to successful, quiet networking, read the “The Art of Quiet Networking.” And please add your tips. I love to hear from other introverts who have found innovative ways of succeeding.