The School of Life (TSOL) Australia and National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA) Corporate came together in an exclusive collaboration for a masterclass held at PauseFest this year titled ‘Networking for Introverts’.
Philosophical and intellectual ideas around introversion were presented by TSOL facilitator Myke Bartlett, with practical and kinaesthetic tools around networking presented by NIDA facilitator Isabella Dunwill.
‘One genuine relationship is worth a fistful of business cards’ said one of the most influential authorities on introversion, Dr Susan Cain. ‘By steering clear of the mechanical and manipulative “tips” around networking, we open ourselves to forming genuine connections – which will no doubt reward rich results, business or otherwise.’
Both facilitators drew on the importance of active listening, insatiable curiosity and authentic connection in networking scenarios. Rejecting the idea of networking as an ‘interaction of transactional value’, both facilitators emphasised the need for sincerity, vulnerability and courage to guide the encounter with a stranger. After all, a stranger is simply a friend you haven’t yet met!
Myke Bartlett pointed out that we all have universal identities – we’ve all loved, hated, been disappointed, had problematic families and internal anxieties, and our similarities can unite us more than we realise possible. Rather than making snap judgements about inherent differences between a person we’ve just met and ourselves, the objective of finding joy of conversation can lead to a greater resonance and connection. Shyness is often viewed as an impediment to introverts in networking situations, but shy people make for better listeners – a trait you can’t put a price on!
Bartlett reminded us that one of the most daring writers of the past half-century, Raymond Carver, had his manuscript rejected before it was edited by the legendary editor Gordon Lish. It goes to show that everyone has an interesting story to tell, we just need to give them the chance to express it.
At NIDA, actors are trained to listen and respond to ‘the other’. Drawing on improvisation games, we create spaces for active engagement in the moment. When you lean in to actively listen without predicting what will happen next, you are able to process and effectively respond to information that is being passed to you. NIDA actors are trained to make offers for their counterparts to reveal character, further the exchange or uptake a suggestion. These skills of endowing a speaker with a certain quality allows for a rich and rewarding interaction. NIDA corporate workshops transfer these tools from the theatre studio to a business conference.
The sold-out session ensured the participants from creative, business and tech industries were left with food for thought on introversion and practical takeaways on the power of vocality, physicality and improvisation in the context of networking.
For more information about NIDA Corporate training and who it can assist your business, www.corporate.nida.edu.au
For more information about PauseFest, www.pausefest.com.au