Friday, January 18

Top 5 Networking Skills to Learn

Okay, since nobody is posting, I think it's time for another offering from the Rocket. He's been talking about network on his site (I promised I'd put another link there, since we're "networking"). Holly I told him about your question to me on Facebook. He was insulted. Don't insult him like that. He thinks you're cool, and he doesn't understand why you don't think he is. I told him that was insulting to me. He didn't seem to care. He was also unapologetic about how long it is. He's always unapologetic. It's one of his most annoying yet bizarrely effective traits.

1) Smiling - A successful networker must master the art of the smile. I'm not talking about the smile that comes upon hearing a mildly funny joke, or the smile that comes when you think about the awesome score you got at Jetman last week. I'm talking about the charming "you'd do anything for me, wouldn't you?" smile that most people never come close to acheiving. And it takes time to get there. But you can start with the "I'm appearing to like you" smile. That's usually enough for most networking anyways. Plaster that smile on your face. Take it to work with you. Take it out for dinner and a movie. Perhaps your mildly attractive waitress will even give you a free dessert. That's when you'll know you're making progress. At least, that's how I knew.

2) Handshaking - Firm, with a touch of sincerity. You have to shake long and hard enough to make the other person feel respected, but not enough to make them feel loved. Love is your enemy here. Feelings can get all up in the way of what you're trying to accomplish. On that note, perhaps avoid shaking the hand of the opposite sex for a while. At least until you've mastered the art of burying/ignoring your feelings (which will be covered in the advance networking chapter, which will only be available in my pending book)

3) Talking loudly in Groups = You're in this to get noticed, and loud group talking is how it gets done around here. In some cultures they dance or beat drums to get noticed. Some cultures build large houses and marry hot wives. Wait, that's also ours (another area of advanced networking). This basic skill requires the ability to do two things at once: hold a drink, and talk loudly. Surprisingly, this is one of the tripping points for many would be networkers. Doing two things at once is difficult, I admit. My little brother (and personal assistant in training )Wendel can't even talk while he's listening to music (it's kind of creepy). But if you hope to succeed you must master this skill. Then at some point you can loudly offer your opinion on a host of unimportant subjects (movies, politics, women's hairstyles, 16th century literature, etc.). You're trying to take control of the conversation, and ideally steer it to a point where you can loudly list some of your skills and interests, hoping someone important will overhear. Actors and teenage boys do this all the time. But for some reason it gets forgotten among the rest of us.

4) Telephone Voice - Again, a very underrated skill. Have you ever listened to yourself on the telephone? Here's an idea: go record a voice message right now on your phone and play it back to yourself. Pitiful, isn't it? If you hope to build the kind of networks that will take you to the top, you'll have to develop a great phone voice. Think something along the lines of Jack Bauer meets Bob Barker. You want something tough and no frills, yet lovable. The kind of voice that makes the person on the other end think you might give away money. But really you're out to extract what you need from that person by any means neccessary.

5) A Wide Range of Feigned Interests - Now we all know that caring about things (besides success) is not cool. And it definitely does not help you in your overall purpose. But you may be surprised to know that many people care about a host of different things. People care about puppies and children. People care about who's leading their country or how much money they paid for their oversized death trap SUV. People care about way too many sports. These are all topics you can read about (I recommend wikipedia) and gain some working knowledge. This knowledge will come in handy when some chump who has the money to fund your band's next project asks you what you think about the 2008 New England Patriots. Go ahead and look them up. Apparently they're allergic to losing. They may have been reading this blog.

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