Adapted from Sarah Michel, Perfecting Connecting®: A Personal Guide to Mastering Networking in the Workplace (Telos Publications, 2004) *Used with permission
Networking has become the single most important life skill in determining business and personal success. Your ability to be connected within your organization and externally with your network will determine your next promotion, sale, or job offer.
Sadly, most people practice transactional networking and network only with those they think they have to in order to complete a transaction. They engage their network only when they need to make a sale, want to find a job, or are looking for an opportunity. As soon as they find what they're looking for, they drop those who helped them off their radar screen and don't talk to them again until they need to make another transaction.
This is why networking is considered by many to be a "dirty word." If you have been a victim of, or guilty of, "network using," or as I like to say, "network drive-bys," this guide is for you.
Connectional networking occurs when you take the time to cultivate a relationship-give back to it-encouraging it to grow and prosper. In other words, connectional networking occurs when you nurture and care for a relationship, expecting nothing in return. Real connectors embrace the philosophy that all things are possible if you first help those in your network get what they want and need.
Some of us believe we're not good at networking and give up altogether, failing to see the strengths that our personality patterns and unique talents bring to the networking process. What differentiates this guide from other networking books is a simple but essential realization: people are different and unique. How you want people to connect with you is not necessarily how another person prefers his or her interactions. Once you understand what drives a person's personality, behaviors, and communication agenda, you will be able to fully connect with anyone-even at your first meeting.
Perfecting Connecting®: A Personal Guide to Mastering Networking in the Workplace will become your "instruction manual" for how to speak the language of others to accelerate your ability to make a long-lasting connection with a new or existing contact.
Understanding temperament will help you to increase your self-awareness, which is the key to better self-management. When you understand how people are different from you and how you can modify your behavior and communication style to improve your connections, then you will be on your way to Perfecting Connecting®.
Perfecting Connecting®: A Personal Guide to Mastering Networking in the Workplace will help you to become a better connector by helping you understand that each of the four temperaments approaches networking differently and that all four have the potential for equal success. Finding your unique voice and learning how to capitalize on it will bring you new connections and opportunities that you never thought were possible.
The belief that only extraverted personality types can be successful at networking is simply a myth. Connectional networking happens one-on-one, and is not about "working a room" to collect the most business cards and taking no prisoners.
Perfecting Connecting®: A Personal Guide to Mastering Networking in the Workplace is packed with proven strategies and tools for improving your connections and cultivating your network. If you open your mind to these techniques and practice your newfound awareness of personality differences, you'll see dramatic results in your professional and personal life.
If you're ready to take advantage of the uniqueness within yourself and others, would like to expand your network, or are in a career transition, then reach for a writing implement and jump in for an essential journey into Perfecting Connecting®.
Many people, especially introverts, say they're not good networkers. However, we can all be effective connectors once we know how to capitalize on our personality patterns, strengths, and natural talents.
Remember that extraverts don't own networking. They may be able to initiate conversation more easily and may be more confident attending a party or networking function where they don't know a lot of people. However, real connecting is about relationships, one-on-one. It is not about "working a room," collecting many business cards. It's what you do with those connections that will set you apart from the network users.
The different strategies listed below play into the natural talents and skills associated with each temperament pattern. In other words, all are effective strategies, but the ones listed under your temperament preference are skills that you're likely already good at.
We can become more effective connectors if we stretch ourselves to try a technique that might be out of our comfort zone. Remember, temperament preference should never be an excuse for why you can or can't do something. Strive to be better rounded at your connecting by trying on some of the lessons learned from the other temperaments.
yourself with network huggers (your
pod of close friends and family)
who will keep you supported and
offer you encouragement.
your consistency by following
up, i.e., keeping your contacts
and network "in the loop."
Be dependable and loyal to your
how a connection could benefit both
parties. Think big picture and look
Be tactical and look for opportunities
to be "at the right place
at the right time."