While doing a leadership seminar recently, I was approached by woman who was a typical introvert.

Great listener, thoughtful and smart. An asset to any team.

But was told by her boss that she had to become “excellent at standing up in front of groups and delivering presentations!”

She was floored.

Not only did she avoid public speaking (most people find it anxiety-provoking, including many who do it for a living), but she was much more comfortable in small, more intimate settings than she was with large groups.

People often make the mistake of thinking that introverted or seemingly shy people can practice a few skills and become gregarious extraverts.

This misses the more fundamental point that introversion/extraversion are personality styles, not moods that can quickly change.

In fact, introverts have gifts that extraverts do not. Why should they “become” something different than their natural style?

Many jewelry makers I’ve met in nearly 30 years in the business have been more on the introverted side but thrust into the “limelight” when selling directly to consumers. That brings with it some anxiety and discomfort to be sure. But there’s no need to change your style. Introverts can sell just as well as extraverts. And because they tend to listen well, they may even do a better job of learning about customers’ wants, needs and desires.

Maybe the quiet ones are the ones we should start listening to.

For more information on how introverts can network effectively using their own style, check out this article by Mindy Weinstein in Search Engine Journal. Although written for SEO professionals, the tips in the piece can apply to almost any networking situation: