In my travels, as President of The Nierenberg Group, I am fortunate to meet wonderful people and hear their stories. Please read about some of the fascinating people and situations that make up my world.
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No two people network the same way. We are either introverted, extraverted or an ambivert. Add into the equation that we all have a dominant personality style and we learn 3 different ways- visual, auditory or kinesthetic. It can be very frustrating if you try to make it a 'one size fits all' which doesn't exist. Look at the following suggestions that can help you form your own networking strategy that will work ideally for your particular personality style.
Identify your personality type. In your career, you have probably completed several personality profile assessments. I use the DISC in my practice and there are many more. With the DISC, you are one of four categories-dominant,influencer,steadiness and conscientious. The bottom line is that each category networks differently from the others.
Be yourself. I love the line- 'be yourself since everyone else is taken'. I give out my 'Networking Checklist' and always say 'modify' this according to your style and comfort. However in all case, stretch yourself a bit so you get better no matter what your style is. For some of us that means, to pull back, and listen more to the other person.
Just do it .Like anything, in order to feel more comfortable networking, you need to get out and practice. Very few people are born with a specific 'networking' gene to make them a 'natural networker'. Like any skill we learn to excel at, it takes practice and consistency and learning from our challenges. For example, if networking at an event is uncomfortable, give yourself a goal to attend one event a month. Work your way to attending more.
Remember that Networking is a daily lifetime activity. Most of the time, it is not even a formalized process. We talk to people every day in a social setting or when we are sitting in an airport waiting for a flight, at the gym or basically anywhere in life. When you have an ear for curiosity, you will learn so much and you never know who you will meet. Just from my walking group, I have met and learned from terrific people that have taught and introduced me to so much living in Sarasota. And at the same time, I am getting healthier and in better shape!
No matter what your personality style is or how you learn, keep the following in mind everyday as you network through life:
I am prepared and focused
I am a good listener
I am passionate about my work and what I do
I am approachable
I am interested in others and what they have to say