Building Connections: Mastering the Art of Networking with Different Personalities

July 30, 2023

Two people talking at a networking eventHave you ever noticed that when you’re networking, each person you meet has a unique personality that you need to figure out how to navigate quickly? Some are easy to work with, but others can feel sticky, frustrating, or confusing. What can you do?

I’ve found that understanding and managing these diverse personalities is the key to having productive and positive conversations that enable us to build meaningful relationships.

In the world of networking, you're likely to encounter all sorts of personalities, so let's focus on four common ones: Hijack Harry, Grieving Grace, Humble Hannah, and Pushy Pete. When you understand how to navigate conversations with them, you can create more authentic connections that will serve you in the long run.

Hijack Harry

Have you ever experienced someone who constantly hijacks your conversation? You start sharing a personal experience, like a trip you've taken, and suddenly, they jump in, talking about their own trip, cutting you off. It's frustrating, right? Well, you've just met Hijack Harry.

Hijack Harry is that person who tends to dominate conversations and steer them towards their own experiences. It can be helpful to recognize that Harry probably doesn’t even realize he’s taken over; It can be helpful to recognize that it’s not a malicious move on his part.

If you catch yourself about to hijack a conversation, take a moment to pause and refocus. Acknowledge the other person's experience and let them share their story. By showing genuine interest, you build stronger connections and create a more balanced conversation.

Grieving Grace

Grieving Grace is the person you’ve just met who is going through a major loss or facing a challenging situation. When talking to Grieving Grace, it's crucial to be an empathetic listener.

Don’t assume that you understand exactly how they feel, even if you’ve been through something similar. We all experience grief differently and without knowing them well, it’s hard to know what to do. Your best bet every time is to listen with an open heart and just let them express themselves. Offer empathetic responses to let them know you genuinely understand and support them during their difficult time.

Humble Hannah

If you meet someone who is very reserved and doesn’t seem to want to share her achievements, you’re talking to Humble Hannah. Especially if you’re looking for a balanced conversation with mutual sharing, this can feel like a bit of a struggle.

When talking with Humble Hannah, you might draw her out by showing genuine interest in her experiences, accomplishments, and interests. Compliment her on her strengths and the positive impact she has on others. When you notice and celebrate her successes, you create an environment where Hannah feels valued and comfortable sharing her achievements.

Similarly, if you tend to hesitate to share your own experiences, remember that in the networking environment, you need to tell people about your achievements as part of helping them get to know you. If you worry about sounding like you’re bragging, think about it as inviting them to celebrate with you.

Pushy Pete

Are you feeling like the person you’re talking to is trying to push a sale before they’ve even given you a chance to get to know them? Say hi to Pushy Pete!

Pete is all about the sale to the point where he neglects the essential aspects of building relationships. When dealing with Pushy Pete, try to shift the conversation towards making a genuine connection. Ask questions about the business, how he got into it, and try to find out more about who he is as a person.

Similarly, if you feel yourself jumping into sell mode, remember to avoid pushing for a purchase too soon and let the relationship grow naturally. Trust and mutual understanding lay the foundation for successful transactions in the future.

The goal is not to avoid people who have these personalities; it's about being present and steering the conversation based on who you're interacting with.

Developing these skills will empower you to navigate various networking situations more effectively. You may even find that networking gets more interesting and fun because you’ve started to understand what’s happening and how you can control it better.

And this is just the beginning!

If you want to master the art of talking to people and forming genuine connections, my book, "You, You, Me, You: The art of talking to people, networking, and building relationships," offers valuable insights and practical tips about these and many more personality types.

I delve into specific strategies for creating authentic connections, becoming a better listener, and nurturing relationships that stand the test of time. When you practice the principles outlined in my book, you will elevate your networking skills and unlock the true potential of meaningful connections. This will enable you to build relationships that matter and open doors to endless opportunities in both your personal and professional life.

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