The bad news: chances are you were not born as a “social butterfly.” The good news: you don’t have to be! Networking skills can be studied, developed and practiced. Here are the five critical skills of networking:
- Sense of purpose. Networkers serve other people. Nothing distracts them from this mission of service to others. This “sense of purpose” becomes their self-image: Networking becomes part of a networker’s character and values.
- Listening. Networkers listen intently, with total concentration. They want to know what the other person is experiencing, where the other person’s difficulties lie, and are constantly thinking of a way to help the other person.
- Organized. Networkers take notes. Some use index cards, others a little notebook,and others an online CRM. Networkers develop a Disciplined, pro-active operating system for staying in touch with their contacts. Organization keeps this from being time-consuming.
- Boundless enthusiasm. Networkers know they will be rejected; they learn from it and keep networking anyway. Networkers make mistakes; they learn from it and keep networking anyway. Networkers will, at times, try too hard to help others; they learn from it and keep networking anyway. Cynicism, pessimism and bad attitudes are luxuries networkers cannot afford.
- No expectation of reciprocity. Networkers never engage in quid pro quo or mutual-back-scratching. They serve others with no expectation of being “paid back.” Networkers understand that fostering trust is not an economy. Networkers truly believe helping others is its own reward.
Cultivate these five skills, and watch your network grow!