Networking Options for Introverts: Shapr

  • October 01, 2018
  • Rachel Sachs, Lawyer & OBA WLF Newsletter Editor

As summer ends, the CPD and event schedules begin to fill again. People are meeting each other everywhere. If for some reason you’ve paused on networking over the summer, now is the time to kick it up a notch. Although this is an important part of our business, not everyone can seamlessly slip into and out of conversation. Many of us, while we understand the value of networking, get sweaty palmed or at least mildly stressed when engaging in traditional networking activities.

There are a myriad of tips and tricks available to make traditional networking more manageable, and you can Google all the tips after reading this article. But what options exist for the introvert? Where are the networking opportunities that cater to this group?

The internet has made possible unique methods of networking. Some lawyers find Twitter a wonderful way to develop connections and build on common interests. Others prefer the more professional arena of LinkedIn for exploring opportunities and building one’s profile. LinkedIn can be particularly helpful when you want to connect to someone further outside your network, as it permits you to reach out to current connections who may be stepping stones to an individual you’re seeking to meet. Depending on your industry or target audience, you may even find Facebook, Instagram or other platforms of value. It depends both on your individual comfort level and what you seek to gain or develop from networking.

It all depends on what your goals are. As a first step now, I always keep a goal in mind. These days, it’s often a broad goal, such as expanding my network, or learning more about what others do. (The latter differs from an informational interview where you seek to know more about what someone does and whether it might be a feasible choice for yourself.)  So, armed with a goal, it’s time to reach out.

Reaching out can often the hardest part. Whether by email, phone or through another connection (hello, LinkedIn!), this can be the toughest hurdle to surmount. Once you receive a response, follow up as soon as possible to schedule your meeting and be flexible. Then relax, breathe; you’ve got this under control.

Recently I’ve found a new app called Shapr that makes both goal setting and reaching out a little easier. This app pulls your data from LinkedIn and helps you connect to people you might not otherwise be able to reach through other methods of networking, traditional or social media based. It allows you to set up to three goals, list a maximum of 12 interests, and write a brief paragraph describing what you are looking for or something about yourself you want to share with potential matches. It also allows you to indicate your favourite ways to meet:

  • After Work
  • Weekends
  • On A Walk
  • Breakfast

Once these are set, it’s time to start using the app. It presents you with 15 potential people to meet a day with the intention that you could set up a meeting every day, time permitting and assuming that’s what you want.

As each option presents itself, you’re given the option to choose “Do I want to meet this person?” by swiping right (yes) or left (no). If the person has also swiped right on you, then you’re matched and can communicate in the app to determine if you want to meet or not, or carry on the conversation across another platform, such as phone or email.

Essentially, Shapr is professional Tinder. It adds a fun element to networking which can offset both the stress of reaching out to a potential connection and removes some of the awkwardness of explaining who you are and what you’re looking for (just like Tinder). Not every “match” works out, but those that do allow you to build deeper connections with a much broader range of people than you might otherwise encounter through your work.

What’s your favourite way to network? Let us know on the WLF discussion board or on social media by using our hashtag #OBA_WLF and #networking.


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