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What Type of Networker Are You? [quiz]

NOTE from Phil: What follows is a fun little quiz that will help you understand your networking style so you can be a more effective networker. Have fun!

11 laws likeability What Type of Networker Are You? [quiz]Quiz: What Type of Networker Are You?

By Michelle Tillis Lederman, Author of The 11 Laws of Likability: Relationship Networking . . . Because People Do Business with People They Like

1. When you are in a group at a networking event and someone says something that you relate to, what do you do?

a. Say nothing.
b. Say nothing but make a mental note or jot it down on the back of their card.
c. Look for your opportunity to interject the thought into the conversation.
d. Interrupt with enthusiasm over the fact that you have something in common.

2. When a new person wanders over to the group your are speaking with, what do you do?

a. Nothing.
b. Shift your body to give them room in the circle, make eye contact or smile.
c. Wait for an opportunity to ask them their opinion and bring them into the conversation.
d. Stop the conversation and welcome him/her in.

3. How often do you eat breakfast, lunch, or dinner with a different person per week?

a. 0 times per week

b. 1 – 3 times per week
c. 4 – 6 times per week
d. > 7 times per week

4. How many different organizations, groups, or clubs are you an active member in?

a. None
b. 1 – 2 organizations
c. 3 – 5 organizations
d. > 6 organizations

5. What percent of the new people you meet do you follow up with?

a. < 25%

b. 26% – 49%
c. 50% – 74%
d. > 75%

6. How quickly do you follow up with a new contact?

a. Within a month, if ever
b. Over a week
c. Within 2 – 4 days
d. Same or next day

7. Which is the most common way you meet new people?

a. They find me.
b. Someone offers to introduce me.
c. I ask friends for warm introductions.
d. I search people out and contact them directly.

8. When are you most likely to reach out to your network?

a. I don’t.
b. When they reach out to me.
c. On a regular basis when there is a reason (i.e. Birthday, job opportunity, change in situation, etc.)
d. On daily basis.

9. You end a conversation with someone when . . .

a. They end it with me
b. The conversation becomes stilted or I think they don’t want to talk anymore.
c. When I know how I will follow up.
d. When I am ready to talk to someone else or see someone I want to talk to.

10. People regularly reach out to you (check all that apply)

a. For a contact
b. For an introduction
c. To ask for a favor
d. To request you speak to a friend
e. To ask for advice
f. To request you or your services on a project
g. To say hello and catch up
h. To invite you to something

Scoring: For questions 1 — 9, score as follows:
A answers — 1 point
B answers — 2 points
C answers — 3 points
D answers — 4 points
For question 10, give yourself 1 point for every answer you circled. Total up your score and read your Networking style below.

9 – 14 points: The Observer.
You tend to hang back in a crowd. You watch what is going on, but don’t get involved. You never initiate and rarely follow up on making new connections. The result, your network is small and you are not in the front of people’s minds as a resource. If you are uncomfortable, make slight changes. Consider making the follow up via email or through social media. If you prefer one on one — invite someone to lunch. If the group is easier at first, then tag along or ask to join a group that has room for one more at the table. Look for situations that match your style and comfort until you get used to joining in.

15 – 24 points: The Reactor.
You are interested in making those new connections but feel more comfortable when someone else takes the lead. You can get stuck keeping a conversation flowing. You are responsive to other’s attempts to connect and follow up more frequently when in response to something specific. You take a subtle approach though sometimes your comfort and confidence may get in your way. You are on the right track. Stretch a little more and you will gain comfort. Set a goal to initiate a conversation once a week and to find a reason to reach out to a new contact. Don’t doubt they want you to — you are not the type that comes on too strong so don’t worry about feeling like a nuisance.

25 – 37 points: The Initiator.
You are actively networking and taking a balanced approach. You seek opportunities, include others in the conversation, and follow up regularly. People think about you for a variety of reasons and you are effectively staying in the front of their minds. Keep doing what’s working.

38 – 44 points: The Director.
You are strategic and methodical about networking. It is high on your priority list and you take a numbers approach. You are involved in many organizations which increases your familiarity since you or your name pops up everywhere. Your approach may feel insincere or over the top for some. Give people some breathing room and use a lighter touch when reaching out. Seek to connect beyond the surface topics that come up in business. Make sure people feel you value the time you are spending with them and not looking for the next or more interesting contact in the room. Don’t pull back too much, simply consider your timing, frequency, and depth of conversation.

© 2011 Michelle Tillis Lederman, author of The 11 Laws of Likability: Relationship Networking . . . Because People Do Business with People They Like

About the author: Michelle Tillis Lederman, author of The 11 Laws of Likability: Relationship Networking . . . Because People Do Business with People They Like, is founder and CEO of Executive Essentials, which provides customized communication and leadership programs. She is an adjunct professor at NYU’s Stern School of Business and a faculty member of the American Management Association. In keeping with her belief that real relationships lead to real results, Lederman specializes in teaching people how to communicate to connect. She has delivered seminars internationally for Fortune 500 companies, nonprofits, and universities. She is a graduate of Lehigh University and Columbia Business School and lives in South Orange, New Jersey.

For more information please visit http://www.michelletillislederman.com, and follow the author on Facebook and Twitter

When Weak Ties are Strong

NOTE from Phil: What follows is an excerpt from the book The Idea Hunter by Andy Boynton and Bill Fischer with William Bole. It’s an academic look at connections, for all of you who want more proof you should make time to connect with smart people. Enjoy!

Idea Hunter Jacket When Weak Ties are StrongDecades of statistical research have demonstrated that professionals need to think elastically about the people in their idea networks.

For example, repeated studies have shown that the longer a project team stays together without significant changes in its composition, the less likely it is to come up with ideas that lead to innovations. This is largely because members of long-running teams get into the habit of culling their ideas from a narrow band of sources: one another. They’re less likely to communicate with people working on other projects and in other departments, and professionally through other channels outside the organization. They’re less likely to come up with fresh solutions to problems.

People on your team would fall into the category of “strong ties,” meaning that you and they belong to overlapping networks of information and ideas. Someone in a different specialty altogether would count as a “weak tie,” as this personal normally travels in a different set of circles organizationally or professionally. Part of achieving real diversity is to understand “The Strength of Weak Ties,” which is the title of a 1973 paper by the American sociologist Mark Granovetter.

Granovetter laid out a seminal social-networking theory that remains highly influential today. He showed that the most valuable information comes from outside a person’s usual network of contacts, through weak ties. He based his finding on interviews with hundreds of job seekers. They were far more likely to land a job through a “weak” acquaintance than through a friend, relative or coworker with whom they shared the same connections. The strong-tie contacts ordinarily spoke to roughly the same people that the job seekers spoke to, so they had more or less the same leads to offer.

In professional life, some of the best ideas will come from weak-tie individuals, whose conversational networks are different from ours. They may well have an entirely different perspective on a subject, one that expands our supply of knowledge and ideas.

People like that are very important to Idea Hunters. They are customers, acquaintances, and many others—including perfect strangers. They do not fit easily into conventional notions of where and from whom to get “expert” opinions, because they’re not experts. That’s not their function. Their role is to say things you might not otherwise hear, spark thoughts that otherwise might not come to mind. What they provide is not a substitute for expertise; it is a supplement.

For example, if you’re getting into the beer business, you’ll naturally want to learn from beer distributors, wholesalers, marketers, and others in the know. But don’t forget to talk to the guy sitting on the barstool next to you.

That’s what Jim Koch did one day in 1984 after walking into a bar at Faneuil Hall in Boston. “I was doing market research,” Koch recalled—with a laugh, because he had really walked into the establishment in need of a drink. But his thirst did not stand in the way of his Hunt. At the time he was already toying with the notion of starting a small craft brewery—his family had been in the business for a few generations. And so he grabbed a stool and began tuning in to his surroundings. He struck up a conversation with a fellow who was holding a Heineken and asked him why he was drinking that particular brew. “I like imported beer,” the man replied. Then Koch asked him how he liked the taste, and the response was surprising, given his stated preference for imported brands. “It tastes skunky,” was the response.

“Skunky” is a beer term for spoiled. At least at the time, imported beers did not have a fresh taste, only in part because they had to travel long distances to the United States. Most of the imported brands also came in clear or green bottles. (They still do, for marketing appeal.) Bit it was a problem, because hops—the key ingredient—spoils with exposure to light. That is why beer has traditionally come in darker-colored bottles, which shield the light-sensitive hops.

It was not a problem, though, for Koch. It was an incredible opportunity. He describes the conversation at Faneuil Hall as his “wow” moment when he realized that he could succeed in the high-end beer market with a fresh-tasting beer. In other words, he could take on the imports, which accounted for just 5 percent of the American beer market at that time. “Their whole business model was based on selling stale and skunky beer to Americans and trying to cover it up with this old-world imagery,” Koch told us. (As for the domestic brands, they too were often stale by the time they reached consumers, at least partly because they spent too much time in warehouses.)

The stranger at Faneuil Hall (a “weak-tie” contact) was a case in point. Evidently he was drinking Heineken for the image and prestige, even while thinking it had a spoiled taste. Talking to that man in that place, not to a wholesaler in a warehouse, was the spark of insight for Koch. He still had much to do along the way to developing his high-end product and carving out a market for it. And he would have to educate the public on the basic fact that beer is a highly perishable product. But he was well on his way. A year after the barroom conversation, Koch launched the Boston Beer Company, which is now by far the largest craft brewery in the United States.

Excerpted from THE IDEA HUNTER: How to Find the Best Ideas and Make Them Happen (Jossey-Bass; April 2011) by Andy Boynton and Bill Fischer with William Bole.

Pick up your copy of The Idea Hunter and learn more about weak ties and more!

5 Tips to Use LinkedIn More Effectively

I use LinkedIn almost every day for a variety of things. I am always looking for new ways to use it more effectively, and when I find tips, I like to share them.

linked in 5 Tips to Use LinkedIn More Effectively

Here are a sampling of 5 of the tips to help you use LinkedIn More Effectively from an article over at MSN’s Business On Main:

  • Hand Out Baseball Cards
  • Build the Largest Network Possible
  • Reinforce Your Network
  • Utilize Your Tagline
  • Submit and Participate

Read how to implement these 5 tips and more so you can use LinkedIn more effectively.

Or connect with me on LinkedIn to build your network larger!

My blog is a part of an online influencer network for Business on Main. I receive incentives to share my views on a monthly basis.