Building relationships is key to developing influence and power. And if you are a leader, or aspire to be one, you need both because it’s how leaders achieve success. And for introverts, it’s no different.
In my executive coaching practice, one of the issues I’ve noticed that my clients struggle with is networking. It’s even more difficult for my introverted managers and leaders.
That’s part of the reason why I’ve included networking skill development as part of Module 5 – Amplify Your Influence for Impact, in my upcoming course Executive Presence for Introverts.
Now, COVID has presented us with an incredible opportunity for networking and building relationships. It has made virtual networking more accessible and acceptable, which is an ideal situation for introverts looking to grow their sphere of influence.
Networking is not only about socializing
The common misconception that most introverts have is that networking is about socializing.
But there is no expectation that you need to be available for after-work get-togethers. Yes, these are important avenues to develop relationships with your team, but they aren’t the only ways to build relationships.
There are other ways of networking without having to be physically present with the person. And especially with the need for social distancing, now is the time to use your innate skills as an introvert to increase your networking opportunities virtually. Now is the time to capitalize on this push for virtual interaction.
Here are 4 ways you can use virtual networking to build your influence.
1. Send notes to CEOs
Yes, you read that right. Start making connections with CEOs and other C-suite executives you wouldn’t normally have access to.
All you need to do to get started is craft a short note to a CEO you admire or would like to learn from. You might be surprised at how willing many CEOs are to guide/groom managers and leaders into the next level of leadership. But you have to take the initiative and show that you want it.
I know that as an introvert, this can be difficult, but writing is an introvert’s strength, and a simple note is a great way to get the conversation started and for you to begin building relationships.
2. Use LinkedIn
LinkedIn is the ultimate networking app for introverts. It’s your tool to connect with people who are outside your normal circle of influence.
So, identify the people you’d like in your network, personalize your connection invites, and start interacting. When they connect, don’t leave it at that. Ask questions or ask for their advice. Keep the conversation going and build a true relationship.
3. Email is always available
Follow-up with new contacts, team members, and people in your network by email. Email gives you the anonymity of being behind a computer – but it still puts you in front of the people in your network.
Even if it’s just a single line to check up on someone during this time, it makes a difference. It shows you care and endears you to others.
4. Pick up the phone
What’s old is new, and picking up the phone and calling people is still the thing to do. It allows you a personal connection even without the physical interaction.
Behind a phone, you can relax and allow your natural personality to shine. As an introvert, you’re often a great listener, and others who love to talk will appreciate that. But let’s be honest, when in a one-on-one conversation, introverts can be just as talkative.
Ready to get deliberate about virtual networking?
As I said, networking and showing your influence is a critical component of my upcoming course. It’s designed for introverted managers and directors who are ready to grow their influence and evolve into higher levels of leadership. A critical component of that is also understanding your executive influence and how to use it.
If you’re ready to use what’s available to you, to know how to approach C-suite executives, what to say, how to handle the conversations – both virtual and in-person – then check out my new online course Executive Presence for Introverts. Please connect with me if you’re interested in learning more.