The Top Five Characteristics of a Great Networker
Recently, I took the opportunity to gather almost 3,400 survey responses from business people around the world. I gave them a list of almost 20 different characteristics on networking and I asked them to pick the top behaviors they’d like to see in a great networker. From those responses, I have identified the top characteristics of what people believe makes a great networker and have listed them here in this video.
At the top of the list is being a good listener. Our success in networking depends on how well we can listen and learn. The faster you and your networking partner learn what you need to know about each other, the faster you’ll establish a valuable relationship. A good networker has two ears and one mouth and should use them both proportionately. Listen to people’s needs and concerns and find opportunities to help them. You can’t help others if you don’t know what they need, and you find that out by listening. In many ways, networking is about connecting the dots but to do that you have to listen so that you can help people make the connections they are looking for.
The first thing that people see from you is your attitude, how you take things in general. A consistently negative attitude makes people dislike you and drives away referrals; a positive attitude makes people want to associate and cooperate with you. Positive business professionals are like magnets. Others want to be around them and will send their friends and family to them.
People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. Helping people shows that you care. One survey respondent said that “people want to network with individuals who have a collaborative attitude.” Helping others can be done in a variety of ways. For example, clip a helpful article and email it to someone. Furthermore, put them in touch with a person who can help them with a specific challenge. Several respondents commented about not wanting to network with people who are “in it for themselves.” A willingness to collaborate and help others is essential. It builds trust and helps establish a strong relationship.
You can offer the help, the thanks, the listening ear, but if you are not sincerely interested in the other person, they will know it! Those who have developed successful networking skills convey their sincerity at every turn. One respondent stated that “it’s all about the authenticity” that someone shows you. We have all seen people who are seemingly good at networking but lack sincerity. Faking it isn’t sustainable.
If you offer opportunities, whether a simple piece of information, a special contact, or a qualified business referral, to someone who consistently fails to follow up, you’ll soon stop wasting your time with this person. One respondent said that when it comes to networking, “the fortune lies in the follow up” and many people just “don’t follow up anymore.”
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6 thoughts on “The Top Five Characteristics of a Great Networker”
Very helpful tips
Thank you, Dr. Misner. I read the text and watched this video about 5 times. I saw all of these elements played out in about 4 encounters that I had yesterday. My concern is about adapting the level of my presentation quickly enough so that I do not lose my audience. I am used to adults, oftentimes those older than me. But, I had a group of teens yesterday and started off the way that I had prepared, intending to present other material that I had been learning. But in listening more, I realized that the language was pitched above them. I subsequently switched to some of my own material that had graphics created by a teen and it worked so well. Even as I packed up, one of them approached me and say thank you for coming. Thanks for underscoring these lessons.
Excellent insight Ivan. A little clichéd with the ‘people don’t care how much you know…’ and and ‘two ears one mouth’ but credit where due. These are timeless truths that make networking and relationships work.
Hi, do you allow guest posting on https://ivanmisner.com ? 🙂 Please let me know on my e-mail
Mark, sorry – I only bring on “guest” writers that I know.