The most overlooked skill required for successful networking
Networking does not come easily to everyone, that’s for sure. If you’re an introvert, it is definitely harder for you to be a good networker (http://owntrepreneurship.com/2015/07/20/growing-your-network-as-an-introvert/).
Or is it?
Because there’s one overlooked skill of networking. Sure, it helps that you are open, flamboyant or chatty. But that only gets you that far along. Because in order to be an exceptional connector you need to have a skill that is not immediately associated with communication.
That skill is memory.
Just being able to reach out to people and “connect” with them, means little if you don’t have the ability to catalogue them in your memory and being able to access it at any given time. And even that is not sufficient. You must remember when you’ve met, what he or she are doing, how they connect to others and how you can reach out to them if need be. In short, you need to be able to create and maintain a mental map of all your connections, preferably categorizes into sub-networks (people you went to school with, people you’ve worked with, friend of friends etc.). while this may sound trivial, it is very complicated when you are considering very large networks. Technology helps- LinkedIn contains a lot of information about the people you’re connected to (I have more than 6000 of them), and some people maintain excel sheets or even keep rolodexes filled with business cards with hand written notes about the person. But the really good connectors? They have it all in the most awesome data base the world has ever known- the human brain.
So if you feel the social aspect of networking is difficult- do not despair. Most chances are you can more than much up to it with good memory skills.
Originally published at owntrepreneurship.com on August 3, 2015.