In the previous post we looked at some factors that can take your networking to not working. Lack of soft skills, people skills is the biggest challenge in today’s fast paced world. For networking to work we must be effective with others which means being truly interested in them and willing to listen.
One of the keys to success in your networking is the culture you bring into every interaction. Your culture is a reflection of how you think and care about yourself. Remember, the goal of networking is to build deeper relationships. If the culture you are bringing is toxic that will not happen.
As a personal business coach in The Woodlands and as a personal business coach in Houston I have witnessed with clients the impact their culture can have on relationships. The first thing you must bring in your culture to others is a sense of safety. If people sense you are turbulent, angry, totally into your own opinions they realize this is not a safe place to be. If it is not safe, they will leave.
Bringing safety and some calm are excellent foundations for building deeper relationships. Only when people feel safe, can they be creative in expanding and deepening a relationship. Creativity is essential to seeing greater dimensions in people and to building deeper relationships.
The second thing you must do to keep your networking from going to not working is to be vulnerable. It’s hard to feel secure and safe around someone who knows it all and who will never talk about the challenges they did not overcome or the times they failed. We are human.
All of us have those experiences. Yet, if you are with someone who always has the answer and the right way to do things and is not truly interested in your experiences or questions, then it is time to move on. These people are not vulnerable. If vulnerability cannot be shared the relationship cannot deepen and it is time to move on. Shared vulnerability is a key step to building deeper bonds and better relationships. It makes you more human and relatable.
The third component to culture is that you must have a clear purpose. This is harder to exemplify outwardly. Let us say your purpose is to create deeper relationships. That is good. How do you convey that to others without stating it directly? Show how much you care about them and what they have to say. Listen. Listen. Listen. That’s your part.
Interestingly, to build a deeper relationship, they need to be doing the same thing. If they are not, then it is probably time to move on.
One final thought on keeping your networking working. When you first meet someone, the safety, vulnerability and purpose are not likely to be clear in the first conversation. Sometimes they are. Give yourself the opportunity for several conversations. Relationship building is a process. When you do, you will be better able to assess which relationships will keep your networking working.