Does that mean that networking isn’t for us? Not so. Networking is not just for those with the ‘gift of the gab’. Networking is personal marketing. Personal marketing is a science and a science can be learned. Personal marketing is something we all do, from our business cards to our LinkedIn profilae and is a continuous learning skill. Networking is another tool in our skill set of personal branding, and it is a skill you can learn, and practice to improve.
Make your personal style work effectively for you.
Extroverts and introverts are both effective networkers, just in different ways. An introvert may meet three or four people at an event and network with them in detail with collaboration and exploration. The outgoing extravert will meet perhaps 20 people at the same event but will follow through effectively with a smaller number. If these two groups were assessed three months later they will probably achieve the same results. Therefore both are equally successful. Learning and working with your personal style and the benefits your style can bring you and potential contacts will lead you to greater success in networking.
Although personality may not predispose individuals to success; confidence does. It takes confidence to network, and confidence can also be learned. Both extraverts and introverts who are confident have a passion for what they do. They are optimistic. They are solutions-driven rather than problem-driven. They have positive emotional intelligence. People who have this inner confidence have belief not only in themselves but also of their product and the organisation they represent as owner manager, employee, senior manager or director.
Your ‘perfect pitch’ will highlight your passions, expertise and interests and will be genuine and relevant to contacts that you meet. But it does take time and effort to perfect your ‘pitch’ and regular reviews are recommended to ensure it stays relevant and fresh. This is where a networking association, like the MBA Association, is a great support. If we attend events in the right frame of mind, we can practice our networking skills and reap the rewards. Remember networking is simple but not easy and like all skills ‘practice makes perfect’.
Key networking skills:
- Learn to ‘work the room’ to meet key contacts
- Develop and improve your ‘perfect pitch’
- Build your competence and your confidence
- Networking is simple but not easy
- Practice, practice, practice
About the author: Caitlín O’Connor
Caitlín O’Connor is widely recognised as one of the leading experts in networking, lead generation and marketing. Caitlín has a passion for empowering people to take control through action and learning. Her programs are exhilarating, energy charged and results orientated. Accelerating Performance was founded in 2005 to stimulate growth through forward thinking. In early 2010, Caitlín published and launched a 2-day e-learning training resourced approved by IMI and IBEC called “Engage – Lead generation through Networking” to assist individuals and businesses to develop a methodology of lead generation though networking. Caitlins current clients also include UCD, DIT and INSEAD MBA programmes. Caitlin has also presented at MBA events, including “You’re Hired” part of the Barometer Series 2010 and the recent Networkig for Success workshops.
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