Do you need to be an extrovert to be a networker?

By Nadia Diraä and Flurin Capaul   Chance leads to interesting encounters and discussions. On an internal forum in the ImpactHub a job advert was launched looking for someone “extroverted” to build and develop a network/community. The post led to some discussion revolving around whether someone needed to be introverted or extroverted to build and maintain a network. Out of this discussion between Nadia and myself, we’ve decided to share our views in two short blog posts.   Why introverted people are are great at building and maintaining networks In business, creating relationships are critical and a source of opportunity, personal growth and even lifelong friendships. If you don’t network, you find yourself in situations (particularly as an entrepreneur or business owner) where you need someone with a certain skill set and you don’t even know where to start looking. Building a network takes time and patience especially if you want it well-configured. A healthy networking philosophy is a commitment to give without expecting anything in return. So when you reach out and offer help to others, or when asked for help you offer it without even thinking twice about saying “yes”, you’re creating energy that will naturally, and ultimately, flow back to you. So why are then introverted people great at building and maintaining networks? First of all, they are good listeners. They have this rare talent of being quiet when the world around them is crazy. When they meet new people, they are attentive and allow them to speak so they can enjoy the feeling of being really listened to. By being quiet and listening they are also picking up all the...

7 benefits of connecting people

Do you know the difference between being a networker and a connector? A connector operates on a much higher level. If I am a networker, I know this person, this person and this person, and I’m happy with it – I know people, wow! If I am a connector, I know that this person and this person have something in common, I reckon that they can benefit from meeting each other, and therefore I connect them. Being a connector offers numerous benefits. At least seven.   Adding value It may not seem like a big deal to you, because you know these people anyway, but if they have potential together and don’t know each other yet, you will give them a wonderful gift by connecting them. Amazing things can happen through a simple connection, and this way you can really add decisive value to people’s lives.   Gratitude Not only will you have added value to these people’s lives, but they will also be grateful to you. Which, let’s admit it, is a gorgeous feeling!   Networking karma Most of the times, gratitude translates into karma, which means that the people you matched will want to reciprocate the favour. Pretty often, people will return the kind of value they received. Therefore, if you provided them with a connection, they will probably give back by connecting you with an acquaintance of theirs. This way, you will have expanded your network by expanding somebody else’s.   Status At the same time, you will gain status between the people you brought together, as they will always remember you as the person who made their connection possible. Also, when someone asks them “So, how did you guys meet?”...

Why networking can save baby boomers

Are you one of those many baby boomers who have lost their job? Or are you between 50 and 65 and afraid you will be made redundant soon? If networking has always been your lifestyle, at least over the past few years, you shouldn’t worry too much. For at least three reasons.   Job search is shorter When they apply for job openings in a traditional way, most baby boomers get rejected because of their mature age and high salary expectations. On the contrary, if they apply through their network, they will be more successful. Whether they get informed by their contacts about vacancies that are not public (yet) or they apply themselves and get recommended afterwards, pre-qualification is involved, which generate trust in the recruiter.   Starting your own business is easier More and more baby boomers who have lost their job start their own business. Most of them have always been great networkers. And this is not a case. Indeed, most of the times their network is the very reason why they decided to start their own business: their first clients, partners and promoters are contacts they have known for years. Moreover, their networking skills make them great sellers and business developers, which allows for them to reach strangers too.   A new job might not be needed Most successful people just happen to be great networkers. It goes without saying that if you’ve always led a networking lifestyle, you’re probably successful, and thus wealthy. And if you’ve reached financial freedom, you might decide not too look for a new job   Baby boomer and never networked? Go start now! Not a baby boomer? Do it anyway: it’s...

4 reasons networking should be your lifestyle

One business event per month and a little LinkedIn every now and then is what networking involves for you? Then it’s definitely not your lifestyle. It should be though! The best networkers don’t just allocate time intentionally for connecting: they also talk to people everywhere and always – at the supermarket, on the tube, at the gym. And they do so for at least four reasons.   It’s a muscle Networking is like a muscle: the more you train it, the stronger it will be. If you attend a networking event and are not used to talking to people, you will probably be nervous, connect with hardly anyone and leave early and frustrated. If you keep talking to people everywhere you go, you will not only be accustomed to it but also great at it, and thus rock every event you attend. Start by saying hi to five strangers a day this week, ask a question to five people a day next week, and engage in a conversation with five new faces a day the week after. This coaching technique is called layering, and will work wonders for your social skills, and thus confidence.   It will be needed Ever gone through a breakup and had to build your social circle from scratch because you neglected your friends during your relationship? Or lost a job and had to start networking like crazy, because you had never done it before? “Dig your well before you’re thirsty“, recommends Harvey MacKay. Because sooner or later you will be thirsty. In other words, there will surely come a day in which you’ll need a network. If you start today and make it a habit, you won’t need to get ready when...
3 people you should have in your mid network

3 people you should have in your mid network

As sociologist Mark Granovetter discovered, it is the people with whom we are the least connected who offer us the most opportunities. In business, this translates directly into innovation. At the same time, as Jim Rohn theorised, “We are the average of the five people we spend the most time with”. These people are most definitely your family and closest friends, and belong to your so-called inner circle.   How about the people in between? Who should they be? Let’s explore a few of them.   Your mentor Nowadays, there exist numerous kinds of mentors, and even more reasons to have a mentor, but networking-wise the value of a mentor is mainly twofold. First, they have a whole different network of contacts and connections that you don’t. And secondly, they’ve been there and done that. You can learn from your mentor’s mistakes and avoid making them yourself, and thus save your reputation in your network – and, further down the line, theirs too.   Your mentee The fact you have a mentor doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be one yourself! Just make sure this person is a few steps after you on their path, so they can benefit from your experience. Even if not as broad and diversified as yours, your mentee has a network too, which gives you access to new opportunities (see the strengths of weak ties). And as the good connector you are, you will help your mentee expand their network, which will in turn feed your networking karma. Moreover, introducing your mentee to your contacts will help you increase the density of your own network, which should be one of the highest goals of every respectable connector....