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    The Joi Design blog is about what SME's can do today, everyday, to win and retain quality clients via strong branding strategies, social media and internet marketing.

    Joi Murugavell founder of Joi Design, is a designer by trade. She's passionate about 'cutting the crap' and helping her clients make money from good, solid Brands.

    Simon Young is a cofounder of iJump, a social media consultancy that helps organisations conduct real, human conversations with their communities through Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other forms of social media.

    James Mawhinney is the Business Development Manager at PositionMEonline, providing high quality internet marketing strategies to a range of clients including Merrill Lynch, Downer EDI, Hawaiian Group, Citect PLC, and Quest Serviced Apartments.

    Sunday, April 11, 2010 by Joi Murugavell

    How does an introverted misfit make connections at a conference

    I attended the ConnectNow conference last week. The speakers were fascinating and a bunch of awesome communicators with a great depth of knowledge. But knowledge isn't the only thing to be gained at a conference like ConnectNow. Networking, meeting people, exchanging ideas and picking up leads is a major motivator too.

    If you're an extrovert you'd have no problems walking up to a speaker like @garyvee or @missrogue for a chat, that would feel great if you've been reading their work for a while, nothing compares to speaking to someone in person. You'd also chat with them, then @tweet them right away so they remember the chat and then MAYBE they'll follow you :) and who knows you could have met a unique, talented individual who could work with you in the future. Its a clever thing to do, if its you.

    If you're an introvert like me, the thought of walking up to a stranger doesn't feel natural, much like having mustard with cornflakes. I sometimes hear introverts say "I'm not a people person" and many of us get branded as that. Its far from the truth. I love people but I'm wired in a way that if I don't find a connection right away, communication becomes a real effort and may take a lot longer.

    I've run Joi Design for 9 years (its run me too) and my awkwardness with what seems to me like strange networking encounters has improved, but not by much. That's what I'm like out of business so that's what I'm like in business. I've never been able to separate my business self from my every day self. In the early days I tried to bury my 'every day self' - that was a silly thing to do.

    These days being my every day self in business is actually paying off. I've been engaging with clients whom I have a lot in common with. We understand each other and working with these clients turns a 'job' into a wonderful adventure and challenge.

    If you're an introvert, just be yourself, its the best way to attract the right clients, for you. At events I attend, I always remember a few people I've made a connection with. At ConnectNow I bumped into @simonmainwaring's mum who is the most interesting, funny, insightful person I've met in a while. I ended up missing a workshop as I was talking to her and lost sense of time. That's when I don't feel like an introvert. I passed her my card as I'd really like to take her out for a meal when she visits Melbourne next.

    Introverts love people, I feel most of us are just a little awkward when communication doesn't result in an instant connection. And I win many jobs from being my introverted misfit self. If one thing was repeated throughout the entire conference it was be yourself (even if you suck, sucking is in the eye of the beholder, it really is) and find clients you make a connection with.