The Personality of Networking - Part 1
It's been my experience as a networker/connector that there are several pieces to the overall puzzle often referred to as connectivity. One piece of this puzzle revolves around the personality traits of a successful networker.
Two basic characteristics within a personality that make for an effective networker are Attitude & Motivation. First, we'll focus on a networking attitude.
I broadly define attitude in this case as, 'any person that recognizes their strengths and weaknesses and utilizes them to achieve success in their personal practice.' In my opinion, it is important to recognize early-on what you don't know and surround yourself with the expertise you need to grow.
Over the past three years, I have seen the following attitudes in effective networkers:
- Fearless - It takes courage to walk into a group of people and introduce yourself to others. In many cases, someone that is unwilling or unable to approach a group may miss an opportunity for collaboration. Sometimes a group may seem unapproachable, but in reality the group is in a comfort zone that will make them MORE approachable. In order to find this out, you have to step outside of your personal comfort zone and make that determination.
- Light Heart - Life can and will throw you curve-balls. Think back to a time you've met with someone and instantly knew they were having a bad day and couldn't care about anything you had to say. Did you want to force a conversation that you knew they didn't want to have? An effective networker is often able to hide their negative emotions (if only for an hour) in order to produce results from a conversation. An effective networker can also utilize their positive attitude to brighten the other's day.
- Opportunist - It is of high importance to see opportunity when it is not readily apparent. In a situation that has signs of little promise, an effective networker should be armed with open-ended questions that can lead to a potential opportunity (if not for them, then for someone else). These questions can be as simple as: “Where are you from?”, “What is your passion?”, or “Does your neighbor have rabbits?” Some of the best meetings come from those that show no signs of opportunity. Many times questions can disarm a tense conversation and produce great results.
By recognizing different characteristics of your attitude, your odds for success will be increased as you move into the networking process.