Do you network to your strengths?

Pinkberry locked their doors because their registers were broken. But we (the hungry crowd outside) convinced them to let us in so we could pay with exact change. Yum!
Creative Commons License photo credit: @superamit

I was at a recent Likeminds networking event in London where we were talking in a group about what networking is, what it means and different approaches to it.

Who was there

amongst others. All good people doing interesting stuff that you should check out.

Anyway, when we were talking, I shared that I am not a fan of open networking. You know the idea that you go along to an event that is full of people that you just don’t know and don’t know where to start. Know what I mean? However, in contrast to those type of situations, I do consider myself a pretty good networker in that I love to meet you people (in the right context) and ‘connect the dots’ between them and other people that I know.

Further along in the conversation, I suggested that we should try and network in a way that is true to ourselves. To illustrate what I meant I shared the following story:

“Imagine that you go to a party and that you arrive at the threshold of the room or place where the party is being held. Normally, people have one of three reactions or are one of three types of people:

  1. The first sees all of these people in front of them and thinks ‘Great!’ and proceeds to go and introduce themselves to the first people that they come across;
  2. The second reaches the threshold of the party and faced with a sea of people scans the room looking for a familiar face that they can connect with before start to meet new people; and
  3. The third reaches the threshold and their face pales at the sight of the sea of people in front of them. So, they locate the bar and head over there to get themselves a drink before facing the room. They do this for 2 reasons: one, the drink is a prop and a bit about ‘Dutch Courage‘ and there is a possibility that they’ll meet other people like them at the bar where it will be easier to strike up a conversation one on one.

Myself, I’m a combination of 2 and 3 but mostly 3.

At the end of the story, I also reflected that I believe that life is social and we are all social beings. Therefore, networking is where we learn about ourselves (as social beings) in a business context.

What do you think? Hocum? Or, do you network to your strengths?

7 comments On Do you network to your strengths?

  • Pingback: Amber Raney-Kincade ()

  • Pingback: Martin Hill-Wilson ()

  • Hi Adrian

    Definitely true all those 3 networker types, actually I haven’t realized about the 3rd that is what I mostly do. Once with the prop in hand normally I do scan the entourage looking yes for someone familiar, but rather trying to recognize what type of people are there.

    You know, the look and behaving has a lot to do with your job or industry you’re in, so part of this initial screening is to look and find for “similar-looking ones” that most likely will work in something related to you, therefore with more possibilities to start a meaningful conversation that maybe leads to business-related topics.

    If that person has another friend joining obviously you’ll get introduced – good moment to remember you new acquaintance’s name, in case you didn’t get it before – or viceversa if you find someone known introduce her to them and start connecting people. Maybe you won’t get any business from that night, but the people you connected might get something and for sure they will remember you in the future as the person who linked them.

    Well, at least that has happened to me 🙂

    • Hi Delfin,
      Thanks for your comment.

      I think you make a great point that the look and behaviour of the people in the room can tell you a lot about what is going on and what the people are like. But, connecting people is a great way to prove yourself useful and that you are paying attention to and thinking about the people that you are talking to.

      Adrian

  • Pingback: Andrew James Whalley ()

  • Adrian, I also fall into category 3.

    I am surprised we haven’t met, or maybe we have, I just don’t remember it

    When faced with the horror that is open networking I am usually amazed to find that 95% of the attendees also fall into that category, and are indebted to you for the rest of their lives if you strike up a conversation with them.

    It is just a question of getting the first two gins down quickly

    James

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