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Relationship Networking: Do It Your Way

I’ve met many people who think networking is a chore – that it’s just something they have to do in order to be successful and make the “right” connections.   Others may find it easy, but sometimes find the interactions feel superficial.  Perhaps a change in mindset and approach can resolve both these dilemmas – a Relationship Networking approach.

This is networking your way, by being your authentic self in a situation and also by seeking situations in which you feel able to be the real you.  In other words, don’t force it, often trying too hard backfires.  People can always sense when you are putting on a front – it makes the connection harder to make.

My friend Brenda told me she loathed networking events but felt she must attend them to grow her business.  She said she was uncomfortable in a loud and gregarious group and had difficulty initiating conversation. She labeled herself an introvert and decided introverts were just not natural networkers.

Sadly, that is an all too common misperception.  I often say that introverts are actually better suited for networking since they are far better listeners.

I suggested instead of emulating her extroverted colleagues that she follow her own rhythm. If she felt tired after being at an evening event for a few hours, she should chat with a few key people she wanted to, then head home.  If she didn’t feel like talking in a particular group, she should listen and then follow up with people after the event one-on-one, a social situation she found to be more comfortable.

She was a bit stunned but even more relieved to realize that it was ok not to always talk or to leave early.  She said, “no one ever told me that.”  I told her to not let herself completely off the hook.  It is important to stretch yourself and gain comfort with things that may not come naturally, but you don’t have to overdo it.  I said, “Just be yourself and you will find the connections will come easier – and last longer.”

So let’s try it out: If it’s in your comfort zone to reach out to me and tell me about your best authentic networking experience, connect with me! Leave a comment here or on Facebook or Twitter.

See Michelle Lederman, author of The 11 Laws of Likability, in action – the next Rutgers CMD class she is teaching is part of the Essential Management Series on March 1. 

Comments

I agree with the major points in this article. I know by being comfortable with myself, I am able to make stronger connections.

Michelle,
Yes, in these highly competitive times, networking skills are an absolute must. No matter what it is that you are trying to accomplish, you have to make sure you are known by other people. Now this is a horrifying concept for any of us introverts. But, fortunately there are many different styles and tools to use that will fit most individuals needs to make them more comfortable at networking. My favorite is the "open ended question." If used properly one would only have to speak once and then enjoy hours of entertainment listening to everyone else talk. And all this time they will know you were truly interested in them and what they have to say.......... http://relationshipcapital.co/bfriendship/?utm_source=bl&utm_medium=sm&u...

Very good points Michelle. Social networking is getting very popular nowadays and very essential for anything whether it's business or relationshi. Thanks for the post.

Neil

hey there, your site is fantastic. I do thank you for work
Elliott Faggs

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