Sunday, 27 May 2012 00:00

Networking For Introverts

Rate this item
(0 votes)

Image of cheerleader

"Networking? I am just not good at that." I hear this time and again. With the recent financial issues in Europe, the line is repeated with a frequency reminiscent of 2009. So, it is time to pull out the pom-poms, put on the short skirt, and be the cheerleader chanting its virtues. For those of you that know me, the visual may be a little disturbing, but I conjure it up with your best interest in mind. The fact is, most of us dislike networking. After all, "work" is its middle name. It is, however, how people do business and find jobs. No argument, it is difficult to approach total strangers, publish an essay for the world to critique, or launch a tweet into the ether's unknown, being fully aware there is no way to delete a disgruntled individual's flame-o-gram on your dissertation. It takes guts to air ideas for others to appraise, "like," deride, or amplify. The best way to start, however, is to jump in and immerse yourself. An acquired talent, networking takes practice and it is more than face-to-face interactions.


A Networking Plan

Like any other business endeavor, networking requires a plan. Yes, finding a job is a business, your own—one of the most important you will have. It requires knowing where to network. Knowing where to network takes experimentation. You also need to have "content." The people you connect with will remember you when you provide value. If you think you have nothing of value to say, how are you ever going to find a job? An interview where you disclose, "I have nothing of value to say" will a very short interview indeed. Determine what you have of value and develop ways to deliver it vocally and in writing. You may only have a few seconds to deliver your message, so make it short, and create ways to extend the conversation.

Paying Forward

The key to networking is paying forward. In every meeting, determine what you have to offer the person with whom you are meeting. Your give-to-ask ratio should be in excess of 20. Show sincerity when you give and take little in return. Think of this as cash in the bank. You never know when you can use it. Live by the motto that every meeting must provide value to the other person. That takes work, because the value that you give them may be the pride of helping you.

Write a Blog

The best method of lengthening the conversation and providing value is through writing. You can differentiate yourself as someone that is passionate your subject through a well-written essay. Create and post three to five articles in your own blog on subjects that you feel strongly about. Here is how you use them:

  1. In an interview or conversation, give the listener a one or two sentence taste of what you know.
  2. If you think they are mildly interested, suggest sending them one of your articles and ask for their business card.
  3. When you return to your office send them a link to the article on your blog. This exposes them to the subject of direct interest as well as the others you have written.
  4. In a week, send them a cordial follow-up note asking for their valued opinions on your ideas.
  5. If they have not read it, they are shamed into reading it and getting back to you.
  6. Once they have read it, tell them you will buy them a cup of coffee so you can clearly understand their thoughts.

This process takes a five-minute meeting and extends it into a few weeks. Better yet, you have stayed in their mind for that same period.

LinkedIn's Sniff Test

LinkedIn is the tool of the business networker. It must be up to date and promote your passion. A ten-second glance at a profile sets an impression. A job seeker with an incomplete profile is lackadaisical about looking for a job. Your concerns about privacy on the web will never be heard because the reviewer will move on to the next candidate.

LinkedIn has become the de facto sniff test for any prospective employee; it provides connections to mutual friends, and sets first impressions. If the candidate has fifty recommendations, he or she is "fake;" if there are none, he or she is questionable, if there are ten the smell test is passed. If one of those recommendations is from a mutual friend, the candidate shines like gold.

Connections and their quantities are just as important. If there are more than 500 the profile points to someone in some form of marketing or sales (recruiter, business owner, consultant, etc.). If there are less than 100, he or she is a recluse.

Find friends connected to the people you will interview with and ask them for the prospective employer's needs. Scan employee profiles looking for tidbits to fill idle conversation. Finding a common alma mater can make a lasting impression.

Discount No One

Great leads come from bizarre places. A few weeks ago, I heard that an acquaintance who lives 5,000 miles (8,000 km) away had "become redundant." He wanted to postpone our Skype chat indefinitely. I took a chance and scolded him withdrawing. He struggled with understanding how someone so physically removed could help him. He neglected to remember that when he needed an article written we meet via social media—I was a friend of another author I met via Twitter. I connected him with people inside his industry and close to his hometown.

One Hundred Cups Of Coffee... Or Tea

Keep a positive outlook. There is a saying, "It takes a hundred cups of coffee to meet the right person." Albeit, your cultural measure and beverage may be cups of tea, glasses of wine, mugs of beer. You must meet people and make the connections. Anyone who tells you this is easy is lying. Dive into the deep end of the pool and start swimming and remeber to ask for help when you need it. And, of course, if you have learned anything you will connect with me on LinkedIn.

Read 9982 times

Related items

  • Transform Your Project Leadership: For Professionals Leading Projects or Company Initiatives

    Todd Williams contributed Chapter 7, "Leaders Listen." You can buy it on Amazon.

    More coming soon!

  • Filling Execution Gaps: Building Success-Focused Organizations

    Executives define vision, strategy, and goals to advance the business. Projects enable companies to meet those goals. Between strategy and projects, there is a lot of work to be done—work that lays the foundation for project and operational success. Through experience and research, six common gaps exist in organizations that inhibit project success—an absence of common understanding, disengaged executive sponsors, misalignment with goals, poor change management, ineffective governance, and lackluster leadership.

  • Get Recognized as a Leader: Four Core Leadership Actions

    Leaders make decisions. This requires a core set of actions to gather the best information, hear out the concerns of others, and making a decision that everyone will follow—even if there is not unanimous agreement with the decision. Although there are hundreds of actions leaders must take, there are four core actions that all great leaders do—listening, dialog and discussion, selling a vision, and eliminating blame. This session will discuss those actions in a roundtable format that we call a "What Would You Do?" session. In these sessions, the presenter acts as a moderator spending 10 to 15 minutes per topic working with the audience talking about what the action is, how to best do it, and hearing from the group on how they have carried out the action. This brings significant audience interaction, involvement, and broader education. 

  • Build Your Leadership Style: Six Leadership Strategies

    Salespeople, Project managers, and business leaders, to name a few, need to change their leadership style for every situation. Situational leadership is more important for these roles than nearly any other role in an organization. Central to this leadership style is commanding the six core strategies—directive, expert, consensus, engaging, coaching, and affiliative. These sets leaders the foundation for building the most appropriate leadership style for the conditions surrounding the current events, people in the room, and external conditions. In this roundtable session, which we refer to as a "What Would You Do?" format, the audience debates the use of each strategy as the presenter poses various conditions and dilemmas that face leaders daily. This creates an educational, interactive and entertaining presentation that builds cohesiveness in your group and relationships that last long after your event.

  • Develop Your Inner Leader: Nine Leadership Traits

    One cornerstone of leadership is our personality traits. Leaders need to develop and hone nine core traits—accountability, ethics, inspiration, decisiveness, awareness, empathy, confidence, focus, and humility—to ensure they can lead a diverse workforce. This session is a deep dive into these traits using a roundtable discussion format—the audience voices their opinions of what the trait is and the presenter moderates the discussion and giving guidance on what the trait means in a business setting.  This highly interactive format session is called a "What Would You Do?" style. In this session, 5 to 10 minutes is spent talking about what trait, what the trait means, and hearing from the group on how they have would exhibit the trait. This brings significant audience interaction, involvement, and broader education.

Leave a comment

Filling Execution Gaps

Available Worldwide

Filling Exectution Gaps cover

Filling Execution Gaps is available worldwide. Below are some options.


PG DirectLogo
Limited Time Price $20.99
Amazon logo
Book or Kindle
Flag of the United States Canadian Flag Flag of the United Kingdom Irish Flag Deutsche Flagge
Drapeau Français Bandiera Italiana PRC flag
Japanese flag
Bandera de España
Flag of India
Bandera de México
Bandeira do Brasil
Flag of Australia
Vlag van Nederland
DeG Press Logo
Barnes and Noble Logo
Books a Million Logo
Booktopia Logo
Worldwide: Many other
book sellers worldwide.

Rescue The Problem Project

Internationally acclaimed

Image of RPP

For a signed and personalized copy in the US visit the our eCommerce website.

Amazon logo
Buy it in the United States Buy it in Canada Buy it in the United Kingdom
Buy it in Ireland Buy it in Germany Buy it in France
Buy it in Italy Buy it in the PRC
Buy it in Japan
Book sellers worldwide.

Upcoming Events

Other's References

More Info on Project Recovery

Tell me More!

Please send me more information
on fixing a failing project.