Can I share a secret with you?
I have been struggling.
As a strong introvert, I find great comfort in hiding behind my laptop and leveraging social media for networking opportunities. In-person interactions often feel clumsy and forced to me. Couple that with the fact that my online networking efforts haven’t been particularly fruitful and my networking anxiety worsens.
Karen Wicker wrote this networking book specifically for people like me – introverts struggling to create meaningful networking opportunities. She delivered exactly what I needed.
Her journalism experience was evident because the content was well-written, engaging and replete with anecdotal references. Here are some nuggets of truth from this amazing book.
Organic Networking Yields Results
Wickre defines organic networking as an instinctive form on networking, actions you take even when you don’t need anything. Too often, networking is viewed as a transaction where we try to extract as much value as possible from the people we meet.
Introverts, she argues, tend to be better at creating organic connections because of how we choose to engage with the world.
Introverts are often:
- Good listeners
- Keen observers
- Imbued with curiosity
These skills help us to genuinely look for ways to add value to our connections, a skill that is crucial in effective networking.
Quality Trumps Quantity
It isn’t important to have a large number of contacts. The quality of the connections matters more. You want to find “the human connections that inspire great and authentic conversations, which in turn inspire great referrals.”
I had never truly given this point much thought until I read this book. What do you do after someone in your network helps you make a connection?
I always say, “Thank you” but I have never really informed them about how your process unfolds. It shouldn’t be a case of you getting what you want, saying a quick “Thank you”, and moving on. Instead, a brief update and expression of gratitude (such as a thoughtful gift) is appreciated.
Weak Ties Are Your Secret Weapon
Wickre cited Mark Granovetter’s research when discussing the concept of weak ties. Granovetter defines weak ties as “the connections between people that are less direct, less obvious or less robust [because these people] are more likely to move in circles different from our own.”
There is immense value in these people – people you meet at conferences or through other chance encounters. The key is to keep loosely in touch with them so that you keep that connection alive. Get Wickre’s book to find out how.
This book essentially has three sections: connecting, online networking and mastering real world networking. I got the greatest value from the first section. However, there was a wealth of information in the the other sections that I believe you can benefit from. Let me know what you learn from those sections when you read them!
A Great Read For Those Struggling With Networking
Networking is crucial for personal branding and business development. The sooner you master it, the more likely it is that you’ll have interesting opportunities coming your way. Add this valuable resource to your bookshelf so that you can become a networking pro!
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