Whether you are a business owner or you work within a company structure, your ability to achieve success depends largely on your ability to create and leverage your networks. Many people feel social networking is one the most challenging endeavors they face when growing their business or building their careers.
There’s this wide-held belief, that in order to be an effective networker, you also have to be a social butterfly. And while that type of personality might give you an advantage, it doesn't make you an effective networker because socializing is not the same as building rapport.
Socializing is a focus on small talk. It's based on superficial associations and is used to fill in the silence. Building rapport is a focus on connection. It's based a fundamental interest in getting to know other people and how you can be of service to them. It's used in marketing to better understand the needs of a customer base. You can use the same principles to increase your effectiveness as a social networker.
Networking is a skill that anyone can master with focus and a solid brand strategy that helps you use your unique communication style to play to your strengths.
For example, one of my clients struggled for years at networking events before he and I met. Although he was a confident financial planner, he’d find himself either debating with someone incessantly about whether or not a particular stock was a worthwhile investment or stuck in a corner talking to no one at all. Neither of these felt good to him, and neither was effective. But, he didn’t know what else to do.
To the casual observer, he was just a nerdy financial guy who was pretty boring to talk to. But, when I got to know him better, I realized that he was actually quite funny. Everything in his life revolved around golf, something his wife and kids would not certainly dispute. Yet, he never talked about it in a work setting. It was as if he left his passion at home when he went to work. When you leave out your passion, then you show up dull and uninteresting because you aren't emotionally engaged in what you're doing. When you include your passion, you are then able to direct more energy into how you present yourself. You show up with more enthusiasm and others perceive you as authentic and feel more comfortable connecting with you.
And if you enjoy it, please share it with your network.
Dan had exhausted his personal network and was struggling to attract new leads at networking events. This case study illustrates how working with Jenn Morgan to craft his personal brand strategy helped him use his words to pull people closer to him. He went from an invisible nerd to a purposeful advisor who stands out at every event with a distinctive communication style. Read the story here.