One of our earlier blogs gave some top tips for networking. This blog takes the concept a little further with the idea of connecting rather than networking.
Networking can often be about collecting a load of business cards or getting high numbers of followers on twitter, essentially it is about numbers rather than depth. A connector is someone who not only knows a lot of people but knows their stories, names and current challenges or potentials.
They connect people and introduce them to one another rather than collect them and stash then in a box. A connector is someone who is instantly recognisable as a person who seems to make friends and acquaintances with people easily. When you talk to them in a room full of people they seem interested in you and you start telling them things which normally you would keep to yourself. After a few minutes chatting with a connector you are like old friends.
Many connectors are incredibly helpful and reach out and connect with another person in a way which is not about what they are after from a relationship but what they can give. This is a total change from networking with an eye on business because it is also about free and willing help and information. You share. It doesnt mean you dont hold things back but it does mean that where you can help you do and you dont automatically think about a return.
Of course there is competition out there but sometimes it needs to be combined with cooperation and collaboration to be really successful. If we constantly see the people we meet as competition then we are really missing a trick because often we are more powerful together and if we help them they may in return help us right back.
People are often worried about going up to total strangers and saying hello but try it and see if it works. Try to examine what works for you and what doesn’t and above all be interested in the other person. We can all tell the difference between someone who is simply interested in what they can get out of us and someone who is genuinely interested in us as a person. The latter person is a connector.
Connectors are people who stray outside their comfort zones and have a variety of interests, they are collectors and are curious about the world. A connector will be willing to take chances and may have had a varied career path, they will have a lot to offer as well as a willingness to give. They also make links and so will see that someone should meet with someone else simply because they may get on or have something in common not just because it holds a monetary value. A connector can span many areas, niches and cultures as Malcolm Gladwell points out in the Tipping Point.
So next time you go to a meeting with new people, networking event or even a new club or membership group become a connector. Invoke your genuine interest in the people around you, be curious, engage and listen to their story, consider who else they might be interested in and introduce them and see value in the relationship itself rather than what you can get out of it.
Become a Connection Agent.
CBPartners offer several free ways to practice your skills at our HR Forums and our Employers Forums. PLease ring Amin Vepari on 01254 505050 for more information and to book a place on our forums in February.