Networking for Introverts: Practicing the “Loose Touch”

We often hear about the importance of networking and it’s tough to challenge that notion. Networking is a great way to make new connections that can lead to job offers or other professional connections. For small business owners and entrepreneurs, networking is especially important, because simply generating awareness of your organization can be difficult without meeting people in person and building personal connections.

In an article for BBC, Karen Wickre tells us that even those we may believe are extremely outgoing can still be challenged in their networking efforts. But, she acknowledges: “the way we think about networking can be especially daunting for introverts and the more reclusive among us. For them, filling their diaries with obligatory meetings, meals or coffee dates seems particularly daunting.”

The Loose Touch

Fortunately, says Wickre, there’s a less-taxing form of networking she refers to as “loose touch,” which may be more palatable to the introverts of the world.”You already know more people than you think because you have many ‘weak ties’,” Wickre writes. “These connections are people you know only slightly and perhaps don’t often think about. You’ve met them in passing or might have worked together briefly. Or you took a class or attended a conference together. They are friends of friends, former colleagues and schoolmates. You’re not generally in touch with them—but their impact on your network could be huge.”

The fact that we don’t have extremely close connections with these people may be a good thing. A sociological study from the 1970s argued that these loose connections can open us up to a greater diversity of social networks, ideas and opportunities.

Stay Connected

Wickre says that by keeping in “loose touch” with these weak ties, we can maintain a broad network without going through the arduous process of traditional networking. Loose touch might be as little as staying connected on a platform like LinkedIn and sending a private message from time to time.

Networking can seem like a frightening prospect for introverts. Even for hard-core extroverts, networking can be time-consuming and exhausting. But as Wickre writes, there are less-taxing and less socially engaging means of maintaining a broad network of connections.

How could you better leverage your own “loose touch” network?

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