Many of us desire to become a better networker, however nobody every tells us how to do it. Or worse the advice we are given is dead wrong. Here are 18 tips you can use to guide you on the path to becoming a better networker.
- The Size Of Your Network Doesn’t Matter
It’s a common misconception that the larger your network is, the better networker you must be. The reality is much different. Your network is not only measured in how many people you know, but how well you know them multiplied by how many people they can connect you with. Simply exchanging business cards with hundreds of people does you little good unless the people who have your cards are willing and able to help you reach your goals.
2. Weak Links Are Actually More Valuable Than Strong Links
A strong tie is someone who you know well. You’ve got their number on your phone and you interact with them frequently. You know them pretty well and information flows freely. Very soon you know the same people and information. A weak tie is someone you interact with infrequently and only casually. Counter-intuitively, the weak tie can be a better source of information because they have access to different information and a broader network than people you spend a lot of time with.
3. The People In Your Network Can Affect Your Weight
One of the big health news stories of 2007 was a study showing that your friends influence the size of your waist (and the rest of your body). The study was based on the idea that loved ones share social norms, the implicit cultural beliefs that make some things okay, others not. If all of your friends pass on dessert you’re more likely to pass as well, and vice-versa.
4. The Most Important Side Of Your Business Card Is The Back
The most valuable purpose for a business card is actually to take notes during the conversation. You can also use the back of the card to simply write down the name and number of a contact that has run out of cards.
5. Your Face Will Give Away Your Internal State So Stop Faking
When emotions occur and there is no reason for them to be modified or concealed, expressions typically last between 0.5 to 3 seconds and involve your entire face. These are called Macroexpressions. Macroexpressions are what we generally think of when we think of facial expressions.
Microexpressions, however, are signs of concealed emotions, and go on and off the face so fast that if you blink you would miss them. Although you are not consciously aware of showing these Microexpressions, they are there anyway and the listener can pick up on them even if they can’t describe it. They will feel something in their “gut” that will warn them not to trust you. One fast way to become a better networker is to get a handle on your internal state before you go out networking.
6. There Are 10 Different Types Of Smiles
- Reward smiles.
- Affiliative smiles.
- Dominance smiles.
- The lying smile.
- The wistful smile.
- The polite smile.
- The flirtatious smile.
- The embarrassed smile.
- The Pan Am Smile
- The Duchenne Smile
7. Introversion or Extroversion Has Little To Do With Networking
The psychological types of introvert/extrovert are not ways to define how well you connect, just a way to describe how you get energized. As a matter of fact, research shows that an introvert can be a much better networker due to their ability to listen and connect. While introverts do not pride themselves on having hundreds of contacts in their phones, they can rest comfortably on the depth of the connections that they do have.
8. You Can Become More Confident By Standing Differently
You can adopt a “Power Pose” when talking with someone to make you feel more confident. You can also stand for several moments with your hand raised as if you just won something to generate a sense of internal accomplishment. Becoming a better networker starts with becoming more confident.
9. Being Vulnerable Will Make You A Better Networker
True connection. the essence of networking is impossible without becoming vulnerable. How can you call someone your friend if you do not know the basic of their lives. How many children do they have, what are their ages, what are their dreams, how do they like their job? Asking these questions requires you to be vulnerable first. People generally don’t share much with people who don’t reciprocate.
10. Shame And Embarrassment Are Very Different In An Important Way
One major blocker to becoming a better networker is shame. If you are afraid of being shamed, you will have trouble showing up fully. The key here is to understand the difference between shame and embarrassement. When you are ashamed your self talk is “I suck”, when you are embarrassed, your self talk is “They think I suck”. Unless you are a mind reader, you have no idea what others are really thinking. Fix your “Self Talk” and you will find that you will be better able to deal with people in public.
11. You Must Like Yourself First Before Others Will Like You
Believe it or not, the way you feel about yourself affects the way others feel about you. You have to forgive yourself for your flaws and understand that others have the same flaws you do. Forgiveness is the start of healing. Once you are healed from the things you don’t like about yourself, you will begin to find others being drawn to you.
12. Curiosity May Have Killed The Cat, But Its Like CPR To Conversation
As Lisa Nichols say, you must be Care-ful when building relationships. You have to be full of care, and actually care about people. When you really care, you ask questions and you listen. Become curious about other lives and remember that you have two ears and one mouth.
13. Tying Shoes, Jumping Rope and Handshakes Need Both Hands
Use both hands when you shake hands. When you use both hands, you are putting more effort in the handshake than others. … This gesture is the same exactly as shaking hands with one hand while touching the person with the other hand. The only difference is that the later is even more intimate and communicates stronger emotions. However, don’t make the person feel trapped by your grip, use your left hand to lightly touch the other persons forearm or shoulder.
14. You Can Manage 150 Simultaneous Social Relationships In Your Head
According to British Anthropologist Robin Dunbar, humans have the ability to manage up to 150 social relationships in our heads. This means you should be able to maintain ongoing conversations with dozens of people simultaneously. Most of us fall far short of this limit and only talk with the same few people over and over.
15. How To Maintain Eye Contact Without Staring
You can use the triangle gaze to maintain eye contact with someone you are conversing with without appearing to stare. This is how it works. First look into the persons right eye for a few seconds, then look at their left eye for a few seconds, then look at their mouth for a few seconds. Repeat. By doing this consciously you will become a better listeners and the other person will feel that you are engaged.
16. We Decide Whether We Like Someone Before We Hear Them Speak
You may have hear that 90% of our communication is non-verbal. This is true. Our brains are trained to make snap judgements about people quickly. We can tell in a split second someones mood, status, friendliness, etc. Of course our snap judgements may be completely wrong as Malcolm Gladwell explains in his book “Talking To Strangers”, yet we relay on these judgements as conversational clues. Remember that fact as you go about your networking activities. Remember to smile and dress appropriately as these are some of the clues people use to make snap judgements about you as well.
17. Why You Shouldn’t Tell Anyone Your Name Until They Ask
Because no one cares. Mary, Tom, Jack, Ray are simply words that convey little meaning and will not be memorable at all at the end of the conversation. Now you are forcing someone to awkwardly ask “So what was your name again?”after you’ve just had a 20 minute conversation. A better tactic is to have the conversation first. If the person asks your name at some point during the conversation, then they are likely to want to continue the conversation at a later point..
18. Elevator Pitches Don’t Work. Tell An Interesting Story Instead
Have you ever had somebody give you an elevator pitch? “My name is ______ My product is _____ We do _______ for _______. Here is my card.” How does that make you feel, like they are trying to connect with you , or simply trying to make a sale? Most likely the latter. A better way to become memorable is to share your unique story.