Put your hand up if you are an introvert.
Now put your hand up if you love social networking sites: twitter, Facebook, google+, Linkedin and the like ..
My sentiments exactly!
Let me tell you – I am not a fan.
First of all, let me assure you, I am still very much an introvert. I prefer to stay behind the camera and do my work, thanks very much. Put me in a room full of people, and you would most probably find me in a corner, talking to a close friend.
Many writers – and bloggers can relate to this. Sadly, this is not very good news. If you are in any sort of writing, publishing, blogging business, you need to put yourself out there.
As difficult as it may sound, you have to get out of your comfort zone, because this is doing precisely that. Your blog is not an island. You can’t build it by yourself. You need to find people who really connect with and form meaningful relationships.
When I went to the problogger training event, I was really nervous. Not about the conference; the talks and the workshop, I was really looking forward to it.
The 2-hour networking event AFTER the conference, that had been scaring the hell out of me. I hardly knew anyone there. ‘What would I say?’, ‘Who can I talk to?’ I spent much time agonizing over that. And yes it was hard, in the beginning, but then as few people approached me, I began to relax. Hang on, that is not too difficult, after all, these people are bloggers too and they are also here to learn and meet other bloggers.
That’s all I am saying, networking can be a lot of fun when you are talking to people in your industry. If you are clear on what is it that you want to accomplish, it can become very rewarding.
You are an introvert. That’s fine, I am one too and in many ways we have an advantage over ‘in your face’ kinda people.
The idea that only outgoing people can establish relationships with others is not true. As an introvert, you have strengths that you can use which will work well with your personality. Here are some Social Networking Tips for writers and bloggers who also happen to be introverts
1. Give yourself Permission to Network
Networking is not a bad word. Networking is as much about nurturing as it is about meeting people. It is our people skills, courtesy and developing connections.
You might have heard, in business, it’s not what you do, but who you know. As much as I used to dislike this line, now I have come to understand that, I can still be me and make it work – for all parties. All I need to do is be genuinely interested in people, helping them out and giving as much if not more, before asking anything.
2. Be a Great Listener
Being an introvert, you might already excel at this. If you rather let others do the talking, then that’s great. It shows respect towards that person. You can also find the right time to speak – never interrupting or being overly aggressive. Play up to your strengths. Listen twice as much as you talk.
3. Take in More Information
I do much more listening on twitter than I tweet. This way I get to see and remember more about people that others might miss. You can do this by connecting through somebody’s blog also, by following them closely. Just pay attention.
4. Focus on One Person
I’d rather have a one on one conversation with a close friend than being part of a lively group of strangers, acquaintances or even friends. If you feel the same way, don’t despair. Focus on one person if you are online, or even in real life. Block out the noise, strike up a meaningful conversation with someone you admire and respect a lot. It is much easier online, they can’t see the sweat running down your face. Plus, you would also make them feel really special.
5. Don’t Play Favourites
And this is the reason why networking gets such a bad rap.
It is actually easier for us introverts to build sound relationships, because we cherish each and every one of them. Unlike some savvy networkers - who meet so many people that they hardly remember them afterwards, and only pay attention to those who truly matter to them – we can really take time to build our relationships and take care of them. Remember, everybody deserves to be treated with respect and sincerity.
6. Network in Your Field
I find that I love talking to people if I can offer to help them out when it comes to writing, blogging or teaching. In fact, I take on a whole new personality.
Introverts often work very well in situations where they can use their skills to help other people. We are passionate about certain aspect of our work, product or business. We speak naturally and with enthusiasm and conviction about things that we are truly interested in. Once we go past our shyness, by focusing on a genuine reason to make a contact, we can be extremely effective.
We already listen well, help others when we can and and speak well when we are passionate about, we have the skills to build and nurture strong relationships. And this is the key to great networking.
7. Give First
I saved the best one for last. The golden rule of networking is – as I am slowly learning - always give first!
Start now by reaching out to someone who matters a lot to you. Send them an email, or mention them on twitter. Write something on their Facebook page or simply connect with a brief exchange of tweets. Send them a link to an article that would really help them out. Let them know they mean a lot to you.
Are you an introvert? Which social media site do you normally use? Share your best tip for making connections in the comments below. I respond to each and every one of them!
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