Introvert Leadership: The 7 Universal Laws of Networking
As an Introvert Leader, your ability to network and forge relationships will be key to your upward trajectory. A good way to gauge how well you’ve done in this area is to think about how many people you could call for referrals inside other companies. Arg! Kind of hits home for you? Not feeling so good about this area?
At some point, your job opportunities will be directly linked to how well your network ties are.
Waiting to develop these relationships is like using the lottery as your retirement strategy. It might work but don’t count on it.
A great place to get started is by first understanding the Universal Laws of Networking:
Law 1- All relationships are 80/20 – People are inherently lazy about the development and maintenance of relationships. That means you may put in much more effort in terms of contacting the other person than they will. You’d think all great relationships are about even in terms of maintenance but they don’t tend to be. If you simply approach it with that in mind,,the other person will love you for your efforts.
Law 2 – Find common ground – The basis for all relationships is having something in common. For people you work with, the obvious connection is your place of business. You may have to dig deeper with other non-work people. I find that talking food and great eating experiences can create common ground. If you met the person in a group setting, there may be that as your shared interest.
Law 3- Be interested – I read something when I was growing up that a sign of a good conversationalist is when you ask the other person questions about them. Talking about you is always seriously fun! Show you’re interested by asking them about them.
Law 4 – Look good – OK, I put that in here just to see if you’re paying attention. Of course, we all look marvelous!
Law 5 – Connect them with others – The best networkers and relationship rock stars are the ones that connect their network to each other. This is not random introductions but people that can make a difference to the career or life of another. I know a gal that is routinely introducing me to someone through email because she thinks we would be mutually beneficial. Those introductions can be anywhere from a business referral to simply a cool person she thinks I’d like to know.
Law 6- Every contact has value – You may not know it at first or even second blush but every one you come in contact with is good for you to know. You may have to dig a while before you understand why.
Law 7 – Them first, you second. When we approach our relationships with others by first understanding how we can help them or support them, your network will flourish. Think of how irritated you get when you know someone is talking to you simply to use you or ask you for something. No one likes to be used. This is the most important law of them all. You will be the lovable, fuzz-ball that is irresistible to everyone. Go for it!
We so often think that if we only learn one more “hard” skill our career will soar. While those skills are always great to learn, your skill with people will be the single biggest success factor in your career.
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