I was chatting to a good pal towards the end of last year and we were discussing the characteristics of effective networkers – and let’s face it, we all need to be effective with our networking activities these days, don’t we? I advanced a theory that I had been ruminating on for some time – “self-disclosure” This is my thinking…
Telling others how you feel and what you think and believe, as well as telling them about your background, is a kind of currency – the currency of self-disclosure. Give out information and usually you will receive a lot back in return.
People swarm, flock and group together by type, background, interests, beliefs, gender, type of work and so on. And one of the most efficient ways to get close to one another is through self-disclosure.
As we begin to experience a powerful common bond, so too does rapport begin. Mutual interests, ideas, values and beliefs are the wrap and weft of social interaction.
Most people like people who are like themselves!
It is rare for two human beings to be together very long before seeking to discover similarities about themselves. This biographic matching can be social or economic, achieved through outlook, education or background, common experiences of the world.
When you match, you reduce resistance by playing down differences while building on similarities.
Once you are matching one another, you can continue to maintain the rhythm you have created by agreeing with one another, seeing from the same point of view. Pacing is a conscious continuation of matching.
When talking, you can pace:
Words that are used
Tone of voice
Body language used
Don’t overdo it – you may be accused of mimicry. Be elegant – your skills should remain unnoticed.
Matching and pacing help you share someone else’s experience and you will begin to know intuitively when it is appropriate to make suggestions, to influence and to lead.
You can also influence behaviour in others by mismatching. It is useful to mismatch when:
You want a meeting to come to an end
You want to conclude a telephone conversation
You need time to think before acting
What you are doing isn’t working
Matching is affecting your mood negatively
Have you noticed how some people seem to be universally liked, trusted and respected? Chances are that they’re also good at networking and developing a wide network of friends, colleagues, allies and useful contacts.
Networking offers you a structured way of making certain that your ideas are effectively exchanged with others.
A final tip: Make yourself known – don’t stand on the edge looking in. Be part of the action!