In most books about building a successful business or being a profitable entrepreneur, you can almost guarantee that there’s a section on networking. Networking in these instances is sure to stress either going to as many “high-quality” events and working the room or getting out of your shell and becoming someone that knows everyone and how we could possibly be of use to each other in the future. What both of these options fail to take into account is that in today’s day and age many people fail to fully thrive in those situations. The truth of the matter is that there is no “one true way” to network. Each person can do it at their own pace and still have the potential to be successful.
Most people would say, “Well if you are never uncomfortable, you’ll never grow.” While I personally agree that this is true, it does not translate into meaning that every time that you’re uncomfortable you’re growing. There are times when being uncomfortable means just that, you’re in a position that makes you uncomfortable. There are really three different types of successful networkers and all three involve a different level of comfortability and uncomfortability. Let’s take a look at the three different types of networkers.
We’ll start off with the group that most people fall in, the small group networkers. These are people who abhor going into mega-networking events and having to constantly talk to people with who they have no level of familiarity with. That is not to say that these people aren’t good networkers, they just aren’t social butterflies and there’s nothing wrong with that. If you were to tap into the networking sources and place them in a room of 15-20, that would be their sweet spot. It still exposes them to new people and groups, but with a group of that size, they are more likely to have something in common with the majority of the group and be able to benefit from the connection in one way or another.
The second group is more of the middle ground. These are the people that are capable of networking in bigger groups (50-100+) but don’t always have to engage or interact with everyone. They are more likely to hang back and scout the room to decide who they feel would be a good connection for them and move accordingly. A portion of this group will even go so far as to search for an attendee list and research the people to give themselves an added level of comfortability.
The last group is the “super networkers”. All of us know someone who has never met a stranger. They can go into any room, big or small, and by the time they leave they will know everyone and everyone will know them. They don’t really take into account “power players” or anything like that because they just truly enjoy meeting and connecting with new people. In comparison to the other groups, I would say that this is very rare territory, so the number of super networkers that you know is likely the smallest.
Each group has its strengths and weaknesses, and none of them is objectively better than the other. Some might say, “Well the super networkers know a lot of people, so they are more likely to know someone that works in the space they need assistance in.” While that is true, knowing a lot of people doesn’t necessarily mean that you have a relationship with them to the point that they are willing to help without some quid pro quo. Our small-space people don’t know as many people; however, in the words of our Eric Woodson, our CEO here at The Kool Source, “they know fewer people better.” By being in small groups your connections become stronger and more like friends/family than just business acquaintances. The group in the middle has the most room for strengths as well as room for weaknesses. The middle ground is a spectrum and depending on where you fall on the spectrum you inherit the weaknesses of either group. You could miss out on meeting people by failing to expose yourself to how the super networkers do or you could miss out on not having the full depth of connections that small group networkers have. There’s nothing wrong with being a member of any of these groups, you just have to be realistic about where you fall on the spectrum and be willing to make adjustments to be the best that you can be in that space.
To learn more about this topic, check out Episode 9 of the Visible Found Paid podcast, available wherever you find your favorite podcast. Be sure to subscribe to the podcast and subscribe to our mailing list for more valuable articles and topics like this. If you want more marketing insight, check out our blog.