Networking for Introverts — A Warm Introduction
By Aaron Cohen
Yes, it is time to write another article for the Lamplighter. I do this because:
2. I have enough hubris to believe that I have some-thing interesting to say.
3. I want to support the important work of Empowering Today’s Professionals.
4. Our Lamplighter Newsletter editor, Adelaida Rodriguez asked.
However, I’m not changing the theme of I Hate Networking that has always been my mantra in this arena. It is an important message, because my fellow introverts need to know that there is hope for us. I‘m not going to defend my introvert “street credo” to those of you who have only seen the “master networker“ veneer I have fashioned with Rod‘s tutelage. But ask my wife Laura in a quiet moment, and she will tell you how my natural tendencies continually tug me into a corner with a good book.
The New York Times recently had an article about a study on the survival value of introverted behavior. Introverts observe more, and process more detail when making decisions. The researchers observed toddlers in play groups, and divided children into cruisers, who easily played, mingled and explored, and sitters, who spent more time sitting on Mom‘s lap and observing. I fully relate to the sitters, and it is even easier to sit back and observe when you are sitting on a travel scooter, or in a wheelchair. While observing may offer a survival advantage, it does little to enhance your circle of influence or expand your network. It also may make you a better networking partner, after you make the initial contact.
So what is it that drives me out of my shell to participate in and host networking events?
How do I psych myself up to initiate small talk with total strangers? There are few more rewarding feelings than helping someone connect with others and find that you have advanced both parties toward meeting some present or future goal. It doesn’t matter whether they are looking for a new job, or for a new hairdresser or mechanic, making connections for people brings power, prestige and a sense of accomplishment. Connecting a new contact with an old colleague also improves the quality of your network by cementing a new relationship, and reinvigorating an old, possibly dormant one.
I‘ll use my son as a good example of this. Jonathan has just graduated from Rutgers University, and he is looking for a job. While not wanting to be overbearing, or do this for him, I do want him to approach this endeavor using the best practices we teach at ETP. I am slowly introducing him to people in my network who can help him focus his efforts and take that first step into working for a living. I am excited to contact old friends and colleagues to ask them to impart their wisdom to a promising young man in a way that I will never be comfortable asking for myself. Jon knows that he is not asking people to help him find a job—people hate to be set up for failure. He is asking them about their career paths.
How do we do this? I employ the art of the warm introduction. The principles of the warm introduction include:
- Both parties separately need to agree to be introduced.
- Contact information should be included.
- The onus of making the contact should be on the person with the current need.
- This person needs to assertively follow up.
Getting Permission (sent only to Bob):
My son Jon has graduated from college and is job hunting.
He has an Information Technology degree from Rutgers and is fluent in Arabic, Hebrew and Spanish. He also has a little French.
Would you be willing to connect with him and have an avuncular chat about the industry and various career arcs in IT?
Hope all is well with you and your family,
The Warm Introduction (sent to Bob and Jon):
As we discussed my son Jon has graduated from college and is job hunting.
I will leave it to him to reach out for you, make an appoint-ment to speak on the phone, and share his resume.
His work phone number is 973-XXX-YYYY.
I suggest you contact him by e-mail to set up a time when it might be convenient for him to talk.
I hope everyone has a wonderful summer. Since summer is a more relaxed time of year, it is a great time for networking; that is estab-lishing and strengthening relationships. Expanding your contacts on LinkedIn is fine if you are using LinkedIn to document the real person to person relationships that you are building.
One of the best ways to do that, even for introverts, is to make helping others your primary goal.
About the Author
Aaron Cohen is currently Chief Technology Officer / Chief Administrative Officer at Financial TrackingTechnologies , CTO Consultant at Ehrenkranz and Ehrenkranz, and Networking Group Leader at Empowering Today’s Professionals (ETP). CentralNJNetworkingGroup[AT]gmail.com Tel: 908-759-9069
For a limited time you can submit a complimentary (free) application for Basic Membership with Empowering Today’s Professionals. If time is critical, save time with Professional Membership as the recommended level PROVEN to get INTERVIEWS quicker.