Becoming a social networking Expert


The difference between competency and expertise is refinement - the difference between the technically competent and the artistically gifted.  What makes an expert....?

In art, the "Masters" were able to capture the 'feeling' as well as the actuality - painting the picture is one thing, doing it with the minimum number of strokes is another or capturing the essence of light or movement in an oil painting is quite different.   It's what defines great versus average, or OK?  The essence is in being able to articulate your message in the minimum effort - making it look effortless.... this is where Pavarotti was superb, for instance!

The same is true of Networking! 

If people understand who you are and become comfortable with that very quickly and they understand what you do and become able to explain it to others with a passion similar to your own, then you have converted networking from being a Scientific concept with a number of mechanical steps, towards being more of an Artist in networking.  Sure! It's easier for an extrovert than it is for an introvert, but that's art - it is about being able to express yourself............ the essence of Art is the ability to express yourself in a way that moves others, whether it be music or painting or sculpture or architecture - whatever!

So what's so hard about becoming a Social Networking Expert.........?  It's just talking to people, isn't it?

The difference between the mechanical (scientific) steps of building a great network of people around you and actually becoming a great networker is in the finer details - the "intangibles".......... It's the ability to understand who someone is and what they do and then articulate this to others with commitment and confidence and the certain knowledge that an introduction between these two strangers (that you know well) will work and say - "trust me - this is worthwhile!" and mean it....... and be RIGHT!  Connecting people is an Art, not a Science - although it's all about is it chemistry that's an art, or intuition that's a science..........?  Who knows!

Much of being a Social Networking expert is about instinct, intuition, chemistry - we are all born with great gut instincts, but many have actually learned to turn it off - one of your best senses has been disabled - but you disabled it, yourself!  Scary huh?

But there are some basic steps to great networking, without spending a fortune on an NLP course!

People trust people - it's inherent, unless something tells you not to......... that's gut instinct - although some people are gullible, some are stupid and some are very bright but far too trusting!  The reason that you "hear alarms" is when things don't add up - the body language is in conflict with the words (usually called lying), or the person is uncomfortable, or trying too hard, or they are overtly selling (often called desperation), or they just don't get "it" whatever "it" is...... those unspoken and unwritten rules of etiquette...... that are always right in the end.....

The bottom line is that if what you are saying isn't comfortable for you, deep down, then your body is going to give you away - if you're lying, your body is going to say so and most people can spot the signs, either consciously or unconsciously.  Practising lying doesn't make your psyche (or your body) more comfortable, but refining the truth does - so if it's just a question of learning how to explain who you are and what you do a whole lot better, then your body is on your side, which is great news!  Because people will generally understand if you're just a bit shy or not as "polished" as you could be, as opposed to a lousy liar!

So let's assume that you're a wonderful listener and people are immediately comfortable with who you are and they understand what you do........... but don't underestimate the power of listening in favour of talking!

The next bit is probably the hard bit - if you have a gift for memory, then you're ahead of the game (!!) if you don't you can learn it - if you want to............. (I did)........

Life is packed full of mediocrity - it's everywhere, all around us every day!  The people you remember are generally the extra-ordinary, the people who stand out from the crowd, that's where the word "extraordinary" comes from!  So how can you become memorable, extraordinary...?  Well, an easy way is networking - as long as you have something worth being memorable for!

If you've got a great network and you work it well - for your benefit and the benefit of others, you are already extraordinary - you are one in thousands if you understand how to help people without exerting a personal agenda........... if you can genuinely believe in "paying it forwards".  If you can create a Reputation for being an expert in your field and someone who has a great network of contacts to help others, you're doubly valuable!

Making high quality introductions between people, hearing someone say "I really need an XYZABC" and being able to say "I know the person you need!" makes you amazingly valuable to people who know you, but only if you can deliver - an undelivered promise is worth less than nothing - because you actually look BAD! 

What's even worse than recommending someone who lets you down is to be the person who is recommended and then under-delivering against expectations, because you've let at least 3 people down (absolute minimum) ...... you've let down the person who recommended you, the person who hired you and yourself - and however fast good news travels, bad news travels much faster and much wider!

So, what is Social Networking Expertise.........?  It’s having a high quality network of professionals in your domain and associated domains (and possibly unconnected domains too!).  It’s about being absolutely trustworthy (people “get” you). It’s about delivering what you say you will deliver, when you say you’ll do it (and ideally delivering more, sooner and/or under budget – over delivering is GOOD!) and it's about only recommending people who support your ethos and will deliver - never compromise on the quality of your reputation - EVER!

But in summary, it’s about being memorable for all the right reasons – it’s about having a reputation in the marketplace that people are happy to associate themselves with and be judged upon – ultimately we are all judged by the company we keep!  It's about associating with people who share your values! 

 However, being seen as a Social Networking Expert is much more than that – you’re being judged by the company others would like to keep – because they come to you and ask you to make the connections for them, knowing that the people you recommend WILL DELIVER!