In late 2014, I presented "50 Tips in 50 Minutes: How to become a super connector in business" at a workzones' Lunch & Learn. While preparing the Tips list, I found myself wondering whether connection-making is an inherent gift or a learned skill?
At the time of the presentation -- I reviewed the Connector archetype discussed in Malcom Gladwell's book "The Tipping Point" ** and then, running short on time, decided to just list my approach to bringing people together.
** If you haven't read this book, I do recommend it.
[Please note: If you click on the link above and buy, I'll receive a nominal referral fee.]
Over the past several weeks, with more time to ponder, I've explored how I (and others like me) effectively connect people together. Is it possible for anyone, even those without the natural inclination, to develop expertise? Maybe.
Certainly, with understanding and practice, anyone could become proficient at business-oriented matchmaking. But will the two parties be a right fit? Is the outcome of a genuine bond more the result of artistic inspiration or scientific method? When I created my How-to list of steps to being an excellent connector, the formula was not obvious. My conversations aren't scripted or repeatable. My activities are not highly systematic or process-driven. I'm connecting people which is mostly a relationship-driven activity.
The real challenge, for those that don't naturally facilitate relationships, is recognizing the opportunities to create connections. That aspect of building new bonds is less about How and more about Why (& When).
Connectors automatically think "people" to resolve a problem or capitalize on an opportunity. This mindset of the Connector seems more like a Superpower than a superior skill set. For Connectors, sparking a relationship is an automatic act. The ability is a gift--like a salesperson's story-telling.
In my experience, the best application of skills are those that play to your natural strengths. If you have the gift of persuasion or envision big ideas--find a role that utilizes those abilities. Make your contributions by doing what you already do best. Then, once you've found a good fit for your "superpowers", consider developing your other skills (including making connections)!