Many people I talk to tell me they don’t feel like they are natural networkers. They tell me that they are not great at reaching out to people on LinkedIn, at events or in any other kind of setting.
Let me tell you something. I am not a natural networker at all. I don’t like these cocktail parties where everybody tries to hand out 100 business cards and everybody wants to sell themselves to the others. I completely distance myself from these kinds of events.
In this blog post, I will show you why you are not feeling comfortable reaching out to people and how you can make it enjoyable and fun.
Note: On Wednesday, 25th September, I am hosting a Webinar on How to Find a Job in Switzerland as an English Speaker. Join me there if you are serious about finding your dream job in Switzerland.
The 3 Types of People in Your Life
I believe there are 3 types of people in your life. Let me explain.
“Value Players” – People Who Believe What You Believe
These are your closest friends. You completely trust these people and they trust you. You do anything for them and so do they. There is of course a reason behind that.
These people share a whole lot with you. Most importantly, they share many of your values, interests and probably a passion. That is why they feel so close to you.
Whenever you talk to “Value Players”, the air is sparkling and you can hardly stop the flow since you talk passionately and could go on for hours without ever thinking about what to talk about next. These people are add massive value to your life and are responsible for a big portion of your success.
Hopefully your life partner is in that category.
“Potential Players” – People Who Share Some Things With You
The “Potential Players” are the ones that share something with you. Maybe you have the same hobby. Maybe you are both valuing freedom as the utmost thing in the world.
However, you don’t share as much with “Potential Players” as you do with “Value Players”. There are usually some alignments in values and interests.
Most of the time when you talk to them, it’s a nice or even great conversation but you have no burning desire to spend the entire evening with them. It’s nice to hang around these people but they don’t give you as much energy as “Value Players”.
You could call these people neutral, they don’t give you much energy and also don’t take much energy from you. They have the potential to either become “Value Players” or “Zombie Players”
“Zombie Players” – Watch Out! They May Bite You
I just talked to a new coaching client of mine last week who told me he thinks that most of the people in his network are actually in this category. This is a huge discovery and very important to realize because then, we can change it.
The only reason you have these people in your network is because you went to school with them or because you connected with them based on their fancy job title on their business card.
You share no values, very few interests with those people and your passions are far from aligned.
Whenever you talk to a “Zombie Player”, you constantly need to think about what to say next. There are many long breaks between the sentences. It feels like they take energy away from you every minute you talk to them.
Keeping in touch with “Zombie Players” feels like the most energy draining activity for you and I generally recommend to gently let the person fade out of your network since they don’t add any value to your life.
Spend Your Time With the Right People
Most people spend their time trying to connect with “Zombie Players” and that is why they don’t feel comfortable reaching out and talking to people. They simply connect with the wrong type of people.
These people are not bad people. They simply are not good for you to hang around with.
Remember, you are the 5 people you spend the most time with. Which type of people do you hang out with the most?
Changing Your Environment
If you just realized that you try to connect with “Zombie Players” mostly, congratulations. Realization is the first step to change something.
If you are surrounded with “Zombie Players”, you need to change who you hang out with. I recently published an article about 13 Ways to Connect With Likeminded Passionate People in Switzerland. That will certainly give you some ideas.
First, you need to make sure most people you spend most time with are “Value Players”. That may include firing some toxic friends in the process.
The Effects of Changing Your Environment
I went through this tough process a few years ago and it changed my life and career completely. I don’t think I would do work I absolutely love, have the most beautiful women that I love and have friends in my life whom I would do anything imaginable for, if I would not have changed the type of people I surround myself with the most.
Once you have changed your environment, it will be much easier for you to identify other “Value Players” and connect with them.
Mostly having “Value Players” in your life is like playing poker in position with a Full House in your hands; it increases the odds of winning exponentially.
Mostly having “Zombie Players” in your life is like playing poker against the best players in the world with nothing in your hands; it makes it very very hard to win.
The good news is that you choose the cards in your life yourself.