Building relationships with introverts – a story from inside the Seahawks locker room

Posted on: August 1st, 2019 by Jen Mueller

Persistent and strategic.

If those two words don’t describe the way you approach networking, meeting new people or developing business relationships you need a more focused strategy – especially when you meet introverts.

Being outgoing, bubbly, assertive or direct can come across as a very “in your face” approach. It can also be a huge turnoff to a introvert who doesn’t talk much and keeps a tight circle of friends or business contacts.

There are introverts in sports. Lots of ’em. I encounter them in every locker room. And the approach I use in building relationships with an introvert is very different than how I approach extroverts.

Just last season I had to build a relationship with a shy, introverted, Seahawks rookie named Poona Ford. Poona had no interest in talking to me, so I didn’t even try. I talked to the players in his area of the locker room for a few weeks before I actually introduced myself.

If someone doesn’t want to talk to you, you can’t force them to. You can warm up the space.

It’s a strategy that works in the Seahawks locker room and with any new business contact who isn’t eager to jump into a conversation.

Here’s the full re-telling of how I earned the trust and built a relationship with an NFL rookie.