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For a Semi-introverted Software Development and Support Engineer how to Network Professionally and Actively Put Oneself in the Middle of a Network of High-Status Professionals
For a semi-introverted Software Development and Support Engineer (see Officehours.fm podcast: "Relationships And The Role They Play In Business Growth, Episode 94" ) ( http://officehours.fm/podcast/94-2/ ) (@ ~ 13min.10sec. into the podcast, Carrie Dils brings up introvert(s). Then Tom McFarlin talks about introverts and extroverts, and degrees of introversion. Then, @ ~ 14min.00sec., Tom McFarlin uses the term "semi-introverted" He then mentions one shouldn't go so far as to write down a note to ask a person "Hi, how are you doing?"
The episode talks even more about this and is great. I take away from it how to be a more professional Employee.
Then the podcast guest and host talk about how to network and build business relationships. The context is freelancers building relationships with clients here.
However for me, I think it can be expanded and the concept is the same for all networking.
Personally,I can't overemphasize how much it has helped me as a semi-introverted Software Development and Support Engineer becoming more professional, to have developed this process.
As someone who has in the past tended to treat everyone as an individual, (as opposed to categorizing people into groups or types) and everyone as a [potential] friend (as opposed to a [potential] professional colleague), this process has helped me become more extroverted (in a good way) and more professional.
- Have a list of anywhere from a dozen to a hundred (or more or less) people who you admire as professionals, or who you like as a professional, or who seem to like you as a professional. Always in a professional context.
- 1x per day (or 1x per week if that's more comfortable to start) visit, call, email, tweet at, text, skype, message or otherwise contact the person and ask them how they are doing, what they are working on.
- mention that the reason for the call is to say hi, chat, and find out how they are doing
- then *just LISTEN*
- keep the conversation going for as long as is natural. let it grow or fade out organically. it may be a 1-minute call if they're busy. It may develop into a 2-week-long email exchange of multiple emails. They may not respond at all. It may end after 1 exchange or after 5 minutes, with a promise to talk again soon. It may grow from a phone call into a face-to-face meeting to have coffee / power-lunch.
- Don't take the outcome personally, especially if the person doesn't reply. Let this one interaction thread grow, or fail, organically. The point of this "Networking" is two-fold: is to keep in touch and grow one's network, *while also is building individual relationships with individual professionals*
- after the initial contact is done, move that person's name to the bottom of the list.
- the next day (or the next week, or as soon as i'm comfortable, really) contact the next person on the list in the same way.
That's it! What this does is twofold; it: 1.) keeps one in touch with one's "ecosystem" (network) of professionals and thus as a whole grows one's network, AND simultaneously it: 2.) builds one's individual relationships with individual professionals.
This way I'm getting over my introvert tendencies in a structured focused way, being more professional, improving my colleagues' statuses as a professionals, and myself being professional. When I need to get help or offer help, those on my list will be fresh in mind and we can help each other. That's the idea.
Doing so in this structured way, (with a written, structured list) helps me to feel like the "networing" is cohesive and structured. I'm not "picking on" one person when I call them, nor am I "selling to" them, and so I less fear that moment when I knock on their door or pick up the phone, like I'm singling them out -- I'm not -- it's a professional call -- I'm calling to say hi, chat, and ask about them as a professional. I'm not taking it personally; I'm "keeping it professional".
Note: This post was pre-published on 2016-09-26.
Note: This post was re-pre-published on 2016-10-28.
[2019 edit: Moved to: https://investorworker.com/2016/... .html.]