Last month, I attended a seminar. During the break, I was sipping coffee with two of my colleagues who were there specifically for professional networking. They were constantly bragging about the number of people they know in the industry. With the coffee turning cold, their discussion began to heat up, resulting into a perfectly brewed competitive argument – “Who has a wider network?”
When the whole table got filled with random visiting cards, which both of them had thrown at each other like playing cards to prove their respective claims, a man who was one of the speakers at the seminar, walked up to our table. It seemed like he was following the whole argument. He said, “It’s not about the quantity, but how relevant and deep your connections are?”
That sentence left a lasting impression on us. We made it a point to attend his panel discussion and of course, he got three new connections added to his LinkedIn profile. That is what you call a connector.
After that seminar, I started to closely observe friends and colleagues whose wide network has always made me envious. So, what is it that makes a wonderful connector?
The most important thing which breaks the general perception about good connectors is the fact that one doesn’t necessarily need to be an extrovert to be a good connector. Introversion and extroversion are simply two different ways through which a person derives energy out of inter-personal relationships. It is a bad idea trying to be or act like an extrovert (if you are not one) just to be good connector. Here are some more secrets about top connectors which I stumbled upon:
Choose Your Prey
It’s better to speak to fewer people and build a deep connection, rather than trying to speak to everybody. It’s almost impossible to speak and connect with every single person at a business conference. So pick the ones you think you need to connect.
Good connectors choose to keep themselves updated, not only with the latest industry trends but also with new contacts. For them, it is not enough to go to a conference and walk out with just a long list of insightful statements given by the speakers. They are constantly updating a contact list.
As communicators, more than focusing on themselves they look to create value for others. They analyze your needs and try to fulfill them even before you ask for it.
Be it emails, messages, or face-to-face conversations, good connectors respond fairly quickly. Vinil Ramdev, marketer and Founder of CEO Hangout, told us, “It’s not that difficult to reach out to high profile people. I’ve had influencers like Seth Godin, and Neil Patel respond to my emails within 48 hours.”
In the case of good connectors, there is a latent thoughtfulness behind when they approach you. They are not like those annoying tele-callers who call you at the busiest hour of your day and slog to sell a product/service in the most boring way possible. A good connector always looks for the appropriate time to approach you and thrives to sell his/her idea.
Active Social Life
Good connectors mostly lead a healthy and yielding social life. It is a main source for them to further form and maintain connections. Visibility is very crucial for them. Hence, they avoid being in the “out of sight out of mind” zone.
Apart from speaking skills, a good connector also possesses superb listening skills. They will make it a point to give out non-verbal vibes which make them look interested when the other person is speaking.
This has happened to me a lot of times when I have attended a conference and have had a healthy conversation with someone. Good connectors revert and follow up. Their claims are backed by actions.
Good connectors will always have people vouching for them. If you keep talking about how good you are, you may not be a connector. But, if others talk about how brilliant you are, you know you are headed in the right direction.