5 networking tools to be a smart connector

My post was originally published in Business O Feminin

Networking skills are an absolutely imperative to helping women social entrepreneurs to learn, lead, connect, and create a positive social impact. However, there are days when even the most comfortable networkers among us need a lot of energy and conviction to get through it. In these top tips, I am sharing how being a “smart connector” will better your networking skills and your business.

1. FIND YOUR DRIVER

If you look at your social media feeds, you are bound to discover a topic or theme that is really dear to you. Having a clear driver and a set of values alongside this, is really uplifting. Sharing your purpose with people also helps them remember you. Being a smart connector is about starting a learning journey that will guide you through your purpose.

Ask yourself, what do you get out of bed for? What is your contribution? How are you changing people’s world? How would you love your network to help you accomplish this?

Find out here about hundreds of women social innovators who are changing people’s worlds, here!

2. LOOK FOR STIMULATION

Being a smart connector is about feeling more “human”. Take your work or life challenges to events and use this as a way to ask for help or insights. There’s something magic about asking “how, why, for whom, what do you think about” questions…

Harvard Business School ran a research into open source software communities — where challenges are solved by people coming from various communities — and the study found that “broadcasting” or “introducing problems to outsiders” produces the most effective solutions.

My challenge to you is to get out and explore the fringes of your network, to solve their problems or have yours solved. This is what members of the MakeSense community have developed.

3. DEVELOP YOUR SENSE OF CONNECTEDNESS

You might be working on your own or be part of a large collective. What’s important, is to know, and feel, that you are part of a joint effort to accomplish something important. When the political activist Angela Davis was in prison in the sixties, she couldn’t do anything, yet what kept her going is the knowledge that her peers were out there campaigning for her cause, and were carrying out her message. This sense of connectedness is a feeling that tells you if you are in the right place or not. However, it works only if you have identified your driver — what you’re passionate about.

4. BE CLEAR ABOUT YOUR OBJECTIVES AND BUILD COURAGE

You don’t need to be an extrovert to be a smart connector. However you need to be clear about the hat you are wearing. For this, I often ask my clients which hat they will choose to wear at their next networking opportunity.

Will you be a learner, an introducer, a story teller, an observer? Focus on one hat to start with, draft a list of great questions you want answers to, and learn from the experience. Participants in our business incubator who were actively working with peers, and made themselves mutually accountable, showed better results than others and expanded their comfort zones very quickly.

So, if you had 200% more courage what would it enable you to do?

5. HAVE JOY! DESIGN AND HOST YOUR OWN EVENTS

If there’s no joy, there’s no smart connection. Where would you rather be to make connections? Are networking functions with bad wine and dry nibbles getting you down? It’s time to become a host yourself! Get people together around a dinner and focus on a theme that really matters to you! A tool such as TableCrowd takes the logistic nightmares out of your hands and you are bound to have a great time.

Watch this TEDx Video: The World Belongs to Smart Connectors

Servane Mouazan runs Ogunte, a social business that amplifies the voice and the talent of thousands of women social entrepreneurs globally, through business incubation programmes and ecosystem building. She also coaches executives and entrepreneurs into developing conscious innovations.

@ogunte @servanemouazan

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