My friend Sacha Chua is not someone who you’d think of as an introvert, but she is. Hang out in Toronto’s tech scene and sooner or later, you’ll catch one of her presentations, which she does with all with the energetic bounce that is her stock in trade. She considers technology evangelism and outreach not just part of her job, but part of her life. She has hundreds of blog subscribers, Facebook followers and LinkedIn contacts, and her Twitter followers number in the thousands. Despite all her public appearances, blog entries, and vast social network, she’s still an introvert.
There’s a reason the saying “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know” has endured: it’s true (so true, in fact, that Malcolm Gladwell has done quite well for himself telling stories based on this particular nugget of wisdom). Wonderful things arise from opportunities, opportunities often come from connections and the some of the best connections are “weak ties”: those casual acquaintances who exist slightly outside our regular circles and who thus have information that we might otherwise never acquire. For a madly-grinning accordion-playing extrovert like Yours Truly, gathering weak ties is quite easy, and I’ve parleyed many a weak tie into an opportunity.
But what if you’re not an extrovert? Can introverts make the connections that can make the difference between getting by and getting ahead? The answer is yes, by playing to introversion’s strengths, taking advantage of some tools and following the steps in Sacha’s presentation, The Shy Connector, which I’ve included below: