Hands up if you walk into a networking event primed for failure, planning to hang out in the corner, ingesting an immoderate amount of cheap cabernet. If you’re like a lot of us – the introverted, the shy, the socially anxious, or just the generally awkward – in-person and on-the-spot networking is fraught. So are coffee dates and lunches with people we don’t know.
But this doesn’t have to doom us to stunted networks. We, too, have the ability to connect and build relationships like pros.
We can do this through writing. We can network from the comfort of our own office or sofa, not worrying about what our hair is doing or whether we’re flashing spinach dip in our teeth.
We can be deliberate about our connections. We can think through what we want to say, then edit, then edit some more (just as long as we don’t chicken out and do hit SEND eventually).
What should we write? Articles, social media posts, tweets, emails, postcards… All have value if they’re written to resonate with the intended reader.
How do we resonate with the intended reader? By paying attention to the fundamentals: relevant substance, concise and uncluttered prose, structure that supports our message (yes, that means figuring out where our paragraphs should logically start and end, and the length of our sentences), and a little personality.
It is so much easier to have in-person conversations once we establish and nurture a relationship in writing (be it on LinkedIn, through an email, or by interviewing our new contact). Now we have a shared history and something to talk about. Now we don’t have to search for interesting topics on the fly.
Writing allows us to level the playing field with those who are the life of the party, the extroverts, the naturally boisterous.
And we should level that playing field.
Because we have just as many career dreams as they do, and these dreams depend on our networks and our contacts. Instead of letting our fear of networking smother our ambitions, let’s give these ambitions an opportunity to become real. By writing well.
If you built a relationship through writing, I’d love to hear your story – please leave a comment, or ping me at email@example.com