August 9, 2023

Introverts are architecture marketing’s secret weapon

https://youtu.be/lg-SNOLM-rY

Introduction: The Introverted Architect’s Dilemma

If the thought of small talk sends shivers down your spine, you are in good company. The networking part of architecture marketing can do that. There’s truth to the stereotype – many architects are introverted, often (or always) favoring drawing to dealing with people. They didn’t tell you that you need to engage in so much social interaction when you were in architecture school. You get it, but – as you always say – you are not wired for it. Or are you?

In this post, we’ll reveal how being introverted is an advantage – and how you can make architecture firm marketing networking easier (and more successful!), and hidden qualities you may possess.

We’ll get into:

  • The importance of networking in architect marketing
  • Common myths about introverts and networking (and ditch them)
  • My mind-blowing revelation about introverted strengths
  • How to turn this supposed “hindrance” into an advantage
  • Provide practical networking tips

Why Networking Matters in Architect Marketing

Attending a networking event isn’t the exclusive realm of talkative real estate brokers or suave tech start-ups. It’s far more than just swapping business cards – it’s about fostering meaningful conversations that can blossom into lucrative opportunities. It’s key to cultivating relationships, attracting new clients, and expanding your architecture firm.

Networking is about connection. But does it really matter? A resounding YES. Because, at the end of the day, people hire PEOPLE.

a serious woman in black looks out a window

Architecture firm marketing is about connection

Networking creates a personal connection. It puts a face to the name and makes you more memorable. Done well, it can significantly add to the marketing strategies for architecture firms. It boosts your visibility, reputation, and influence – without requiring you to incessantly talk about yourself. It humanizes you, makes you more relatable, and more memorable. That’s why many companies have adopted an “everyone is a marketer” philosophy.

And it turns out, introverts might be natural-born marketers. According to a Yale study cited in Inc. Magazine, “Introverts Actually Understand People Way Better Than Extroverts…”. Dig a little deeper and you find out they are better at armchair psychology. They’re the “more ‘natural’ social psychologists.” Well. I think it’s time we set the record straight on some of these myths.

Busting Myths: Introverts Can Network

“But I’m an introvert. I can’t be good at networking!”

So you’ve said for many years. But now I know you’ve got hidden skills. Time to ditch the myth on this personality trait and accept that you’re GOOD at networking. Because here’s the thing: extroverts may be the life of the party, but no one “wins” at networking by talking the most or loudest. It’s about authentic connections and meaningful conversations – and introverts excel in these areas.

Extroverts sparkle, introverts glow. Extroverts are fireworks, introverts are a fire in the hearth.

Sophia Dembling, Psychology Today, author The Introvert’s Way

Deep listening, empathy, and thoughtful insights are characteristic traits of introverts, making their networking efforts more meaningful. And go figure – people appreciate these qualities in a conversation partner more than showboating.

But are introverts just better… people?

Are introverts inherently nicer, more considerate, and better listeners than the rest of us? Time Magazine, in their article The surprising benefits of being an introvert” explains that introverts need more time to process information. Consequently, they stay quiet and out of the conversation while they process (unlike the rest of us, apparently…). This makes them excellent listeners with thoughtful replies.

That same Yale study cited by Inc. Magazine talks about introverts being the more natural social psychologists. Study co-author Anton Gollwitzer explains that introverts

[spend] more time observing human nature than those who are busy interacting… or

are more accurate at introspection because they have fewer motivational biases.

Yale psychologist and study co-author Anton Gollwitzer

Next up, we’ll dig into some practical tips.

Networking tips for introverted architects

Great news! There’s no need to pretend to be anything you’re not. You are naturally armed with introverted superpowers you can use to your advantage – you just need to harness them. But if you’re not feeling them right now – no worries. With the right strategies (for you), you can be a super-effective networker. A few tips…

Plan your strategy

Planning ahead is your secret weapon. It gives you a sense of control and helps you avoid awkward situations. For an event, research the attendees, find common grounds, and prepare talking points. Being prepared makes you feel less anxious.

ProTip: Use tools like LinkedIn or the event’s app (if available) to preview attendees. This helps you identify individuals you’d like to connect with and do the prep work in advance.

Use one-on-one networking in architect marketing

Large events may be overwhelming, but one-on-one meetings can be an introvert’s forte. Introverts shine in deep, meaningful conversations. Aim for meaningful connections with a few people instead of trying to connect with everyone at an event.

Also, consider online networking. Digital marketing for architecture firms may be JUST what you are looking for. It’s like one-on-one but with more time to think and no eye contact.

ProTip: When arranging a one-on-one, choose a setting that’s comfortable for you. This could be a quiet coffee shop or even a virtual coffee chat.

Use active listening

Introverts tend to be great listeners. Use this to your advantage! Active listening builds rapport and makes people feel valued (and you never know what you may learn). Bonus: you don’t have to do much talking.

ProTip: As you listen, occasionally reflect back on what you’ve heard. This not only shows you’re engaged – it also provides clarity.

Use your work as a conversation starter

Discussing your work is an easy conversation topic. It’s something you know well, it helps take the focus off you and onto your expertise, and you can indirectly market architecture in a less direct way.

Not ready for that? No worries. Ask what THEY do. People love to talk about themselves. Plus, it can lead to opportunities to use your projects to show potential solutions.

ProTip: Carry a tablet or printouts of some of your designs. Visuals can make the conversation more engaging and take some pressure off you.

Take breaks

Networking can be draining for anxious introverts. It’s OK to take breaks. Find a quiet space to recharge and regroup. Your mental health matters, so take care of yourself!

ProTip: If you’re at a large event, try to schedule downtime. For instance, after a big networking session, maybe attend a passive activity like a panel discussion.

Practice self-compassion

Networking can feel awkward, especially at first. Remember, it’s okay to make mistakes and it’s okay to feel uncomfortable. It’s even okay to look uncomfortable.

People like imperfect people WAY more than those claiming to be perfect – you’re more relatable. So give yourself a break – you don’t have to be perfect (and it’s preferred you are not). In fact, part of what makes you so effective is NOT being an outgoing, super confident person.

ProTip: After each networking activity, reflect on what went well, rather than focusing solely on what you could’ve done better. I’m talking during the event – so after a conversation, presentation, etc. Celebrate small wins!

In order to be open to creativity, one must have the capacity for constructive use of solitude. One must overcome the fear of being alone.

Psychologist Rollo May

Conclusion: Introverted Architects can do it all

It is true that introverts are architectural marketing’s secret.

Being an introverted architect is not a disadvantage. In fact, it can be a secret advantage (in more ways than one, see quote below)! You listen more, understand people at a deeper level, and prefer meaningful conversations – all powerful networking tools. Use them wisely.

I provided tips and some practical advice, but you’ve already got the strength it offers – you just need to use it how it is comfortable for YOU. Next time you walk into a networking event, know you can hold your own. It is totally cool to make your mark in the architecture world quietly, one person at a time.

 

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I’m a 20-year architectural marketing veteran sharing resources and insights from my architect-adjacent life. Useful information with stories and humor.
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Ready to be the only architect clients think of?
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I'm Barb
I’m a 20-year architectural marketing veteran sharing resources and insights from my architect-adjacent life. Useful information with stories and humor.
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hey there!

Ready to be the only architect clients think of?
 The ULTIMATE marketing solution - The EDGE helps you stand out, build better client relationships FASTER, and WIN.
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