I’ve seen my friend the master networker in action for a long time. Peter’s helpful to everyone he meets. I’ve rarely visited him when he didn’t have a bunch of out-of-country house guests he was sheltering. (He’s helped me out with shelter many times, in fact.) Peter grew up in rural New Brunswick, but on his first day in Toronto he walked down Yonge Street and met 11 people he knew by name. Not surprisingly, they all knew him, too. People are always happy to see Peter.
It’s not all that complicated…and yet, most of us aren’t like Peter. Why is that? We could be, you know. Let me break it down for you. Try to do the following things for one month. See how many more friends you make and how much richer your life can be. Yes, I’m working on it, too.
Here are the Top 10 elements that make Peter the master networker:
1. Be interested. He really wants to know what you’re about. No fake or canned questions.
2. Be friendly. He’s fast with a smile and he loves a good joke (hearing them and making them.)
3. Be interesting. Peter is interesting because he’s an extrovert who has a huge comfort zone.(Oh, yeah, there’s the thing I lack. Introversion is one way I get in my own way.)
4. Be open to opportunities. Peter decided he wanted to learn Portuguese in middle age, so he did. He didn’t think about how hard it would be. He doesn’t get in his own way so now he can speak casually in Portuguese with the Brazilian ambassador to Canada and now owns several businesses in Brazil with his partner (who, by the way, has all these same qualities and I love him, too.) Peter has a lot of experience with people because he makes himself available and gives of himself. Notice I said I would have simply thanked Sue for the bookmark and moved on? I’m comfortable writing and emailing. He’s just as relaxed face to face. I have to work on that. (When I was a reporter, talking to people killed me. Later, as a book sales rep and publicist, I got better at it, but I still procrastinated sometimes. Still do, occasionally.)
5. Focus. When you’re talking, Peter’s paying attention.
6. Be engaged. He’s not waiting for the second you shut up so he can jump in and say what he wants to say.
7. Talk about them, not you. Sue didn’t find out where we were coming up with publishing industry knowledge until she asked us directly. We told her, but not before she cared to know.
8. Be nice. That’s not hard, is it? Well…if you don’t have that already, I don’t think it works to fake it. The only thing I’ve learned from watching several seasons of Survivor is, if you’re a jerk, you can’t fake being nice for anywhere near a month and not even for $1,000,000. If you, now, reading this, aren’t sure you’re a jerk, ask yourself this question: Is everyone you meet a jerk, idiot or moron? If you answered yes, I’m sorry to tell you, it’s you. Find out why you’re a jerk. Work on yourself. Try talk therapy and/or antidepressants.
9. Relax. Peter can go to a party and if he doesn’t already know everyone there when he arrives, he will when he leaves. I’m shy and uncomfortable socializing with a group of strangers. For Peter,that’s how he has fun. When I relax and come out of my shell, I notice I have fun, too.
10. Make people feel great about themselves. He doesn’t lie. He finds the best in people and, oddly enough, that tends to draw out the best in people.
11. He never thinks of it as “networking.” I think Pete would just call it “living.” He lives so large.
- How to Find Motivation for the Things You Hate Doing – PickTheBrain | Motivation and Self Improvement (pickthebrain.com)