The Internet is good news for introverts who find it inefficient to network personally. Networking in itself is a struggle.
But especially, if you are shy or introverted.
Networking entails interpersonal connections that can make you feel vulnerable or exposed. The line, “You need to be actively networking,” sounds so simple – however, when you take a closer look at it, networking can be a frightening experience.
Networking has and will never be the easiest thing to do, especially for introverts. As you grow your professional path, more networking is needed.
Traditional networking involves going to sit-downs with people and talking business in hopes of building a connection. You basically do all this for your career growth, as well as expanding your professional network.
Networking is essential in all business ventures. When more of our professional growth is mostly reliant on who we know, it is better to start investing in meeting people who can help you grow. Some research suggests that almost 26.7% of hires of a company are reliant on referrals.
Your connections in life increase your name and brand value. For introverts, discovering innovative ways to network online might be a better fit. The important thing to remember is that you have to do what makes you feel comfortable, and brings the most value for your efforts.
Inordinate amounts of conversing and correspondence may be overrated in networking. Too many networking venues are orchestrated for people to connect for their own self-interest without the effect of real value and collaboration.
Consequently, the typical networker passes out a bunch of business cards, follows up with a perfunctory email stating how great it was to meet the individual. And that’s the end of the typical networking cycle.
Contrarily, online networking saves you from face-to-face interactions and allows you to share information that actually builds value to all parties involved. The recipient receives information and resources to further his professional aspirations.
And if reciprocated, you receive similar benefits, as well as a new ally. While developing such a process for introverts might be daunting, there are ways to overcome such challenges.
These are 5 strategies on how introverts can effectively network online:
1. You can observe how some people do online networking and integrate it into your strategies.
In one blog, one of the famous words that made it go viral is “open eyes and observe.” Just four words that say so much. Applying this into the world of online networking, information can be accessed easily.
Open your eyes to how you would magnify yourself as an agent for potential employers or clients. There is a lot of information that can be easily searched on the web to enhance your powers of observation.
For example, Google Alerts allow you to receive notifications when information you are seeking emerges online. This allows you to stay abreast of new industry updates or keep up with influential people in the news.
Such information is critical when initiating correspondence or merely maintaining the communication flow during the interviewing process. Online networking allows you to listen, engage, and be listened to with minimum effort required.
The more you network online, the more you build a circle of friends and professionals on your terms.
2. Be targeted in the type of people you are networking with.
While it is good to have a large circle, you have to be intentional in your goals. You need to connect with the people who could directly help you in your goals rather than be in a large group with no targeted direction at all.
Use the 80-20 rule in networking. Twenty percent of the people you connect with will help you yield 80% of the results. Unfortunately, you may not know exactly where the 20% of the whole will come from.
It is essential to network with like-minded people, so that you can at least get 1% out of each one-hundred. Because it’s a numbers game, you need people who are similar when it comes to building and engaging in a community.
Find people who are in the same niche, and they can connect you to larger communities that you can be able to reach online. One of the best examples of this is LinkedIn. It is a social networking site built for professionals.
A lot of successful people have LinkedIn profiles, and you can take advantage of this opportunity to vet potential connections.
3. Make your bio interesting enough to convince the online world to connect with you.
A Bio or biography is a highlighted summary of your best professional attributes and achievements that can serve as an online magnet. It could be a brief summary of your professional experience and education or just some quote you live by.
You have to keep in mind that you can also be the first one to reach out. The choice is totally yours. Begin by using social networking sites as your way of connecting with people. You have lots of options.
LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter can all contribute to your networking goals. Connecting online will not be as draining as face-to-face interactions.
Remember, people act in their own self-interest. So, your bio should reflect what is the most salient part of your value that another person would find desirable.
4. Use online education and forums to build connections.
Developing online professional relationships is just one of the goals in online networking. Since many introverts are academically oriented, to learn online with like-minded individuals is ideal. Online courses, webinars, and forums are great platforms to learn and express views that edify participants.
Since participants value education, your background and education may come in handy as the parties become familiar with each other down the line. Who doesn’t want a smart and respected co-worker housed in the adjacent cubicle?
One of the best opportunities that derive from attending a 4-year college is the life-long friends you form as a result of the experience. You can accomplish the same feat in a shorter period of time online.
5. Be the center of your networking efforts.
Introverts have similar needs for achievement and accomplishments as extroverts. There is a myth that introverts merely wish to languish in obscurity, while extroverts ride off into the sunset of success.
Introverts and extroverts may have similar goals in the end. However, the means by which they accomplish their goals are different. Introverts may not crave the spotlight, but it does not mean they don’t seek recognition.
Once you determine your professional value to an industry, position yourself as a thought leader or subject matter expert by creating intellectual property through articles, blogs, e-books, podcasts, and videos.
By posting your intellectual property on social media sites, you attract the kind of people you want to work with, as well as befriend. Many introverts enjoy reading and writing already, so creating intellectual property is a natural extension of your DNA.
This singular act separates introverts from extroverts. In the long-run, quiet intellectualism beats boisterous entertainment. Become the well-spring of solutions within your industry of which great ideas flow.
Today, the internet is an introvert’s greatest ally. They no longer have to place themselves in a “one-size fits all” box. You can be as creative as you want.
The only limitation to your possibilities is your imagination. So, dream big!
Caprino, K. (2015, July 21). How introverts can network powerfully: 5 key ways to rock at networking when you hate it. Forbes. Retrieved from: https://www.forbes.com/sites/kathycaprino/2015/07/21/how-introverts-can-network-powerfully-5-key-ways-to-rock-at-networking-when-you-hate-it/#434c07de2d63.
Marquit, M. (2015, Nov. 17). 5 tips for networking as an introvert. Due. Retrieved from: https://due.com/blog/5-tips-for-networking-as-an-introvert
OnlineCollege.org (n.d.). Professional networking online: 5 ideas for introverts. Retrieved from: https://www.onlinecollege.org/professional-networking-online-5-ideas-for-introverts.