How to be a networking natural

Michelle Clarke

Michelle Clarke

Having been the Head of Leadership Development for Retail, at Marks & Spencer PLC, Michelle understands what it takes to get people performing at their best. She was responsible for the M&S move into Germany, developing the national leadership team for future expansion and her vast experience ranges from leading large corporate teams to building small businesses and establishing Global Enterprises.

Despite having accomplished a rapid ascent in the corporate world, Michelle was seeking something more personally fulfilling and she started her own Leadership Consulting and Training business in 2006.

Using Roger James Hamilton’s world leading Entrepreneur Training Tool, Wealth Dynamics, for her Team and business success, within 12 months Michelle had built a business that allowed her to earn more than her corporate career had, whilst taking time out to travel and speak globally.

Michelle takes time out of her busy schedule to share her secrets of building high-performance teams.

* Do you prefer meeting people over doing your tax return?
* Do you prefer designing or creating new products over dealing with the detail of the project implementation?
* Do you prefer to take great care over your current clients and customers rather than creating new strategies and visions?
* Perhaps you enjoy analysing data and understanding information over line management of teams?

Well, we are all different and so we react differently to situations.
We all have natural preferences and talents that we may not be aware of. Using the Talent Dynamics system, we help people to raise self awareness of their natural talents, where they can add the most value, how they can most easily and quickly help to get the team and organisation more into flow.

It works to help you understand the best way to manage all kinds of situations, including Networking. We’ve all been invited on courses of how to network better/more effectively. They are always run by some outgoing, extroverted individual who has no problem meeting heaps of brand new folks, who then take time to explain to everyone else just how easy it is to do! Of course they do – they all have a natural extroversion in their profile which makes it so much easier for them to do this!! It’s something they are naturally good at and therefore enjoy more.

Everyone has the ability to network successfully.
What we have found is that the 8 different profile types have specific strategies they can employ for their networking to be more effective for them. There simply isn’t one size to fit all.

Now, I’m a Supporter profile, we are natural, face to face networkers, great at building relationships quickly, we enjoy meeting new people and don’t enjoy the detail or the data analysis so much. Give me the choice of being in the office at my desk or at an event with 100 strangers – i’ll always choose the 100 strangers! It’s my natural talent.

I was at such an event recently. I had stood up confidently and shared my 60 second update on my company. (Extroverted profiles are OK with this public speaking as well). During the break I met with an Accumulator Profile. The first thing she said to me was “I wish I could be more like you!” I asked her why and she explained that as a member of the legal profession she didn’t favour these kind of events but had to do them and that many of the legal clients were expecting more extroverted and naturally outgoing solicitors to work with! I really felt for her in that instant! I explained, that I for one, certainly wouldn’t value having a Supporter Profile as my solicitor. Friendly and outgoing they may be but give them detail and project planning and risk to deal with and they are not in their comfort zone at all. Accumulator’s make the most risk averse of all the profiles. They are the safest of all of the profiles and I assured her that I for one, would want my Solicitor to be an Accumulator!

I also discussed with her, some specific strategy’s she might like to employ with her networking.

1. Rather than going to lots of different events where she would constantly be meeting new people, feeling intimidated and uncomfortable meeting so many new people – that she could join and stick with one or two specific groups, where her natural ability to connect with people over a longer term allowed her to build strong sustainable relationships and where she could be much more appreciated for her detailed knowledge and ability. Accumulators are good at building trust particularly when it comes to detailed knowledge and expertise so this would be a way she would more likely turn that Trust and Truth to Trade.

2. We also talked about her firm looking to employ a Star/Supporter Profile to specifically go out and target networking groups and to present to large groups on behalf of the firm. This person would be responsible for making new contacts, finding new clients and then passing the work to the appropriate solicitor. This is what we call co-creating flow in the business.

3. We also discussed a strategy for her to employ with social Networking. Accumulators being great with detail and her being in the legal profession, I suggested a blog approach, where she can write short articles, explaining the intricacies of the law in English and give great tips to SME’s and other businesses. This would create a very specific following again and build trust with a group of interested businesses. When they are looking for a solicitor, who will they think of approaching? Yes, her of course!

So please don’t feel that you have to be this super duper over the top natural networker, constantly wondering why others are so much better at it than you. Or the complete opposite, you find you are a super duper natural networker but struggle with the detail in running your business! Realise your natural talents, utilise your natural strengths and find a team to support you with the talents that don’t come so naturally to you!


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