What’s Your Networking Style

Are you frustrated by the slow return you’re getting from going to networking events? It could be a question of style. Everyone has a networking style and if you can spot the style of the person you’re talking to, it could help you to win the business you’re after.

The DISC personality profiling system identifies four different styles that people roughly fit into. We’re all a mix of the four styles, but one style usually dominates. See if you can spot which style you are.

D – Go-Getter. This person wants to get straight down to business. They want to know exactly what return you can give them. They’ll swoop in with a firm handshake and proffer a business card immediately. When you’re talking to them, get to the point, explain exactly how you can help them. Set up a meeting immediately and stick to it.

I – Promotor. Described by some as the Labrador puppies of the networking world, the promoter is chatty, informal and views networking events as social occasions. They’ll greet you with a friendly hi, pump you hand – and look over your shoulder to see what other conversations are happening. Be friendly back and arrange for a cosy lunch. While it may appear as if you’re talking about nothing, the promoter will think you’re a marvellous person and will want to do business with you.

S – Nurturer. The nurturer is anxious to ensure that everyone else attending the networking event is comfortable and isn’t left on their own. They dress in unobtrusive clothes, so they won’t be noticed. They prefer one to one conversations and hate feel they’re being sold to. If you want to do business with a nurturer, don’t talk business at the event. Set up a one-to-one and they’ll eat out of your hand.

C – Examiner. Examiners are task-oriented, thorough and focused on getting the job done. That’s why they hate networking events. When you meet them, they often stand back because they want to get a good look at you. Put them out of their misery and say you;ll send them an email. This will give them time to give you a measured response.

This theory helps explain why some people’s networking behaviour seems pushy or unfriendly. It will help you play to your own strengths as a networker. Once you have an idea of another person’s style, you can match your approach to their style. And you’ll be in a better position to forge relationships that are beneficial to you both.

There’s No Such Thing as Can’t

This post was originally published on http://www.bloggertone.ie and featured in their recent Sugartone Ebook.

Recently, a well-known motivational speaker was asked in The Irish Examiner newspaper what his pet hate was. His answer was. ‘People who say they can’t. There’s no such thing as can’t.’ I’m sure many people admired his upbeat attitude. I felt alienated by it.

As a writer, I know that human beings are far too rich and complex to be labelled in terms of can and can’t. If you are to have any hope of motivating others, you need to figure out where people are coming from. You need to find out why they feel they can’t and convince them that they can.

Why do people feel they can’t? There are many powerful reasons for it including:

  • A discouraging family environment. Parents, family and friends may have made people feel that they can’t, even though they may not have intended to.
  • Illness or disability. Society often gives people with disabilities the message that they can’t. People may also have latent depression, which saps confidence.
  • Disappointments and setbacks. If people often encounter obstacles to success despite theirbest efforts, they may not have the heart to try again.

If you’re in a position where you need to persuade people to do work for you, you may have little patience for excuses. And that’s as it should be. Figuring out why people can’t doesn’t mean condoning bad behaviour. But if you’re an employer in particular, you literally can’t afford not to figure out why people can’t. Firing people is a lot of hassle, with unfair dismissals legislation and the expense of recruiting and training someone new.

If you’re teaching and one of your students is disruptive, it could be because they feel they can’t. Helping them turn can’t into can will enable them to tap into their potential. Even in a voluntary organisation, valuing people’s efforts and making them feel their skills are of use will help them feel their contribution is of value.

Here are a few simple tactics for turning can’t into can.

  • Find out why people feel they can’t. If people know that you understand where they’re coming from and that you have compassion for them, they’ll open up and it will be easier for you to help them.
  • Show them that they can. Share with them what you think their strengths are. Nobody is immune to a bit of flattery and it gives people confidence.
  • Give them strategies to move forward. If they’re having difficulty completing tasks, give them the resources they need, whether that’s mentoring, help from a trusted friend or colleague or literature to read up on.

It may seem like a lot of hassle, but if you take the time to turn can’t into can, your relationship with the people around you will be far more harmonious.

Creative Writing Classes: A Magic Carpet Ride

I’m going to be totally self-indulgent this week (what’s new, says you!) and share with you one of the greatest achievements of my writing career to date. An achievement that owes more to the creative writing talents of others, rather than my own. On Wednesday, I completed my first series of creative writing classes for adults, as a tutor.

I have no idea how my students felt about the whole experience. For most of them, it was probably just something to do, a break from the routine. I doubt they experienced the rollercoaster ride of fear, awe, excitement and tenderness that I did. Or the sadness that it’s over. They’re probably delighted that they have their Wednesday nights back.

The profile of people who choose to do creative writing classes is interesting. Both as a student and as a tutor, I’ve noticed that the people who come to creative writing classes are the ones with the least amount of time to devote to the classes. People with school-age children and/or ageing parents. People looking to escape the daily grind of their lives and explore another way of being, a magical world that lies just under their noses.

Over the six weeks, they played word-games, created characters, travelled to beautiful places, went on sensual journeys and caused murder and mayhem. During the free-writing segment, they let their minds wander. Interactive exercises helped them to explore ideas. And after a well-earned break, they chewed over the writings of some of Ireland’s top writers – and a text set in Jewish London which caused a bit of a stir.

And the reward for these efforts? On the last night, the seeds that they had planted bloomed in an outpouring of creativity. Stories of haunted houses, scheming minxes and mindreaders abounded. Stories that sent delicious chills up and down our spines, made us laugh and brought lumps to our throats.

I was a good little tutor. I had done up a questionnaire for them to fill out about the course (I called it the Spill the Beans Questionnaire)! But the true measure of the success of the class lay in these stories, in the achievements of these people who had come to class with nothing but a vague curiosity and finished as writers in the making. And knowing that I had played a part in creating those stories was a humbling experience.

Bring on the next writing course!




Awesome Blog!

Well, not really.

But in current parlance, anything that’s in any way decent is liable to be described as awesome. Hyperbole, or exaggerated language, has become acceptable in business talk and in life. Words are being stripped of their wonder. If any of you were listening to fantasy author Terry Pratchett on 2FM this week, you’ll have heard his eloquent rant on the subject. A tidal wave coming towards you is awesome – especially if you are a surfer! A cup of coffee is not. It can be described as fragrant, acceptable, pleasant, good. Certainly not awesome.

Consider the definition of awe, supplied by the good people at Collins’ English Dictionary.

An overwhelming feeling of wonder, admiration, respect and dread.

Given that definition, could you ever again consider a cup of coffee to be awesome? It would want to be a mighty fine cup of coffee.

The right word used at the right time is a powerful tool. If you want to make the maximum impact on your audience, whether they’re customers, readers or your family and friends, it’s worth investing a little time to find a word that’s the perfect fit.