The myth that introverts can’t be as successful at networking as extroverts can’t be farther from the truth. Introverts tend to be reflective and have close relationships, making them a terrific connection in networking scenarios. That being said, small talk doesn’t always come easy to introverts, and it’s hard work to establish rapport with new people. This can make attending networking events and other parts of job searching very difficult.
It’s important to remember that introversion, just as extraversion, is simply a preference and a tool. Introverts who understand this about themselves, can create a strategy for boosting their careers. Introverts can be great at networking, and we’re here to show you a few ways you can level up your networking abilities in a digital-first world.
Why Introverts Should Try Using Direct Messages
Virtual networking is an important part of career development that introverts should leverage. Behind a screen, introverts won’t have to worry about crowds, small talk or making a good first impression and can focus on simply what they’d like to say and how they’d like to engage with another professional.
That being said, networking via LinkedIn shouldn’t be viewed as sending as many connection requests to people as possible, attending but not participating in webinars or sending the default connection message. Every connection and message you send should be personalized and used to expand your network.
Here are some tips for networking via LinkedIn:
Keep your profile updated: Your bio should accomplish three things: summarize the nature of your work, show social proof and establish credibility.
Be brief: Don’t treat messaging via LinkedIn like email – lead with brevity like a Tweet or message board.
Be professional: Avoid the temptation to share or engage with content that is outside of the professional realm.
7 Ways Introverts Should Use Direct Messaging
Now that you’re familiar with the messaging etiquette of LinkedIn, you’re ready to learn how to network using direct messages as an introvert.
1. Put in the Work Ahead of Time
When sending a professional direct message it helps to build a relationship with your prospective connection outside of their inbox. By contributing insightful observations to their posts, your name will stick out above the hundreds of other connections your prospect receives.
Use the following template to build a relationship with someone you admire:
“I read your piece on [XX] and what you said really resonated with me because of [XX].”
2. Research Your Connection
Before reaching out, conduct some background research to understand their goals and values as well as how you align with them. Ensure you are spelling their name and other affiliations correctly and don’t forget to check what time zone they are in before sending them a message.
3. Personalize Your Message
When sending a direct message on LinkedIn, avoid simply saying “Hello” or sending a default LinkedIn connection message. Take the time to personalize your message to increase your chances of getting a positive response.
Use the following template to show you have aligned values:
“It’s always great connecting with another [XX] in the [XX] industry. The [XX] project you did was inspiring.”
4. Be Authentic
Communicate on LinkedIn the same way you would in professional interactions outside of LinkedIn. No need to be overly formal or change your style – be yourself, but professional.
5. Be Brief
When crafting your message, aim to include only a few sentences. When sending a direct message, give the recipient the information they need, and if they are interested in learning more they can follow-up. A good test is sending yourself the message and seeing how many scrolls it takes to get to the body of your message.
6. Be Blunt
Avoid making vague requests such as “Can I pick your brain.” Be direct and specific with your request. In general, simplify your requests and don’t offer too many options as they will most likely choose the easiest one.
7. Stay in Touch
If your professional connection responds or connects with you, your work isn’t done! Continue to engage with their content and congratulate them on any promotions, birthdays, or successes.
Use the following template to compliment someone’s recent success:
“I’m impressed by your recent achievements in [XX]. This isn’t an easy subject to excel in. Great work!”
We live in a digital world so understanding proper messaging etiquette is important for standing out in a crowd, especially as an introvert. Before you know it, these skills will become second nature, and networking in the real world might not seem so daunting.
Stacy Walden is an introvert and a Content Marketing Manager at Siege Media. She covers topics around career development, networking and leadership.