Back in 2019, UpHabit reviewed a unique book on networking, one that looked at it from a different perspective. Karen Wickre’s “Taking the Work out of Networking” offered introverts, those among us that may panic at the taught of networking, a guide to making connections that matter. Karen, a self-proclaimed introvert herself, understood the difficulties that introverts and many others face when attempting to reap the benefits of networking. Since its publication in 2018, “Taking the Work out of Networking” has become a priceless tool for thousands.
When we first looked at this networking classic, we discussed 6 key takeaways:
- The power of introverts
- The challenges of feeling like you fit in
- Leveraging the idea of “keeping in loose touch”
- Networking doesn’t have to be face-to-face
- The benefits of being open to giving and receiving
- The importance of building real, better relationships
Having explored various ways to approach networking from some of our favourite authors, including “The Ferrazzi Way” and “The Kelly Way”, we now turn our attention to overcoming the challenges we often face when networking.
Introverts – Natural Networkers
From the start, Karen highlights the 3 traits that make introverts natural networkers:
- They are good listeners
- They are keen observers
- They are curious
When put together, these 3 offer introverts some of the most important tools for connecting and making genuine connections with others. But most importantly, none of these traits require an introvert to be in the limelight.
Understanding these strengths is the first step for any introvert to become a super connector – doing so allows you to effectively leverage them and approach networking with newfound confidence.
Leveraging our Online Tools
When we think of online tools for networking, LinkedIn is usually top of mind. It offers professionals a one-stop shop to connect with others, share their successes and ideas, and get involved in professional communities. It is an important tool for any networker.
But LinkedIn isn’t the only place you can build a strong online presence and connect with others. Twitter and Instagram offer networkers a different approach – building a personal community, sharing life updates, and expressing your creative side. Building your presence on these sites can help develop your online presence and reach and allow you to network in less formal ways. Simply put, there is no right way to network online. Instead, finding the tools that work best for you, your profession, and your comfort zone is critical.
And as you build your online presence, it’s important to think about the persona you want to create. As Karen points out, professionals often fall into one of three broad categories:
- “The minimalist”: sharing anything from viral videos to relevant news stories with little to no commentary. Perfect for keeping up with weak ties and building connections through areas of interest.
- “The commentator”: loves to post and comment on various topics, mainly involving business and society, attracting connections through oftentimes valuable and useful information.
- “The uplifter”: share good news and positive stories, combining positivity with their professional self.
Keeping in Loose Touch
One of the most important concepts we took from Karen’s book when we reviewed it in 2019 was the idea of ‘keeping in loose touch’. As we’ve discussed in previous blogs on networking methods and frameworks, networking is a constant process. Keeping in loose touch builds on this – it’s the process of checking in on your important contacts periodically to maintain and develop your connections.
As Karen explains, this method works best when you reach out to connections when you don’t specifically need anything from them. The goal should always be to stay in touch and continue a relationship, not to gain something from them. Before personal CRM’s, Karen relied on post-it notes in her address book to remind her to stay in touch with contacts. But now, networkers can leverage the power of UpHabit and its reminders feature to make the process a whole lot easier!
Mastering Small Talk
As many introverts can attest, small talk can be difficult, but its importance to networking and building connections can’t be overlooked. From random encounters in the office to job interviews, small talk often begins and ends any professional interaction.
The great thing about small talk is that it doesn’t last long! And as Karen notes, it is largely observational and shared, rather than personal and inquisitive – anyone can talk about the weather, their weekend plans, or waiting in slow lines. And small talk works like a lubricant for conversations that many of us, including introverts, may find even more difficult, such as interview questions or business discussions.
Whether you’re an introvert or not, Karen Wickre’s book offers valuable tips, tricks, and takeaways that really can make networking *almost* effortless. As long as we stop looking at networking as work, we can become start to enjoy the process of meeting and learning from others, sharing our stories, and offering helping hands whenever we can.
UpHabit is an easy-to-use app that takes the heavy lifting out of reaching out, following up, and building an effective professional network. Build a stronger network with UpHabit, an app for Thoughtful Super Connectors! Download now on iOS, Android, and MacOS. Available as a web app too.