Networking & Your Behavioral Profile: How to Leverage Your Natural Styles
WRITTEN BY Senior Consultant, Vicki Myoda
Many people I know would rather visit the dentist for a root canal than attend a “networking event.” And yet, those same people know that networking is valuable and that they “should” be doing more of it. So...they go, and spend a good deal of the evening checking their watches, looking just as uncomfortable as they feel.
On the other hand, there are those among us who are “natural-born” networkers, and who genuinely enjoy the give and take of a cocktail hour mixer or a professional society dinner meeting. Engaging with those they’ve never met before actually energizes them, and they leave the event with a bounce in their step and a handful of business cards.
Considering your natural styles of communication and interaction can shed light on why you may love (or hate) networking, and also provide ideas on making networking less painful and/or more productive for you.
For example, if you have a Low Extraversion (B) drive, you enjoy peace and quiet, privacy, and time to think and reflect. Doesn’t sound like a networking event, does it? Here’s a perspective that might help: real networking is not chatting up the maximum number of people, it’s establishing mutually beneficial, lasting connections, one person at a time. “Low Bs” actually prefer one-to-one conversations, and often are very good listeners. So, the next time there’s an opportunity to network, focus on one or two conversations, go a little deeper with those (“less is more”), and think of the conversation as a puzzle-solving challenge: what connections between the two of you (besides the obvious) can you discover?
Other “PI & networking” thoughts:
- High Dominance drive (A): independent and autonomous by nature, “high As” may not see the need for networking (“I’ll call you when I need you”). A different view: “high As” genuinely want to impact people and events, and networking allows you to widen the scope of your impact -- think of it as an investment that has a longer-term payoff.
- High Extraversion drive (B): natural connectors, strong “high Bs” view life as one big networking opportunity. A word of caution: others may initially view your social nature with skepticism (“what do you want from me?”). Use your natural ability to read your audience: “tune into” the level at which the other person is ready to engage, and adjust your approach accordingly. Also, keep an eye on your ratio of talking to listening.
- Low Patience drive (C): strong “low Cs” can be distractible: while talking with one person or a small group, they find it almost impossible to ignore who else is walking by (“who’s that?” “do I know them?” “ I haven’t seen her in ages!” etc.). We know this is rude to our current conversation partner(s), but the impulse is hard to rein in. To help control your focus, position your back to the door and to the majority of the crowd – if you can’t see them, you can’t be distracted by them.
- High Patience drive (C): “high Cs” are patient, nonjudgmental, and have the ability to focus on one person/one conversation at a time. In today’s world, these are valuable commodities. Know that your listening skills will be a gift to those you meet while networking, and remember that one “real” conversation can be more valuable than meeting 25 people in passing.
What have you noticed about your PI Behavioral Assessment results and how you network? Send me an e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or give us a call at (410) 295-0771.