Almost everyone has, at one time, worked with someone with whom their personality clashed, whether they did not get along or just didn’t work effectively together. While this is a perfectly natural phenomenon of both nature and nurturing, it is best to put personal differences aside when forming a professional relationship with a coworker.
This was the focus of Networking Like a Pro, a publication by Dr. Ivan Misner and Brian Hilliard. In it, they explore how personalities come into play in the workplace, and how each person’s behaviors influence their interpersonal relationships. While most people display the traits of many personality types, the book makes the assertion that all people fall into four predominant personality types, especially where business is involved. Business networking is strongly influenced by how well your behavioral type meshes with another’s.
So, does this mean that you just won’t be able to network with some people, and with others it will be effortless? Not so.
Misner and Hilliard offer advice on how to best interact with these behavioral types by understanding what really makes them tick. These types are as follows: Go-Getters, Nurturers, Examiners, and Promoters.
When dealing with a Go-Getter, you have to think--and move--fast. The Go-Getter is determined to get the results they are looking for ASAP, and if the rules need to be bent in order to get them, so be it.
To communicate with a Go-Getter, you need to make the value that you offer them clearly relevant and essential to their goals. More specifically, you need to make them see how you can help speed up their operations without sacrificing the results they strive for. The Go-Getter will also want to hear that they have options to choose from, but would rather hear a pitch than they would a heavily-planned-out script. With a Go-Getter, stick to the highlights, and deliver on your promises.
Where a Go-Getter has more of a “now, if not sooner” attitude, a Nurturer sees the value in taking their time where business matters are concerned, operating with patience. Nurturers are also natural team players, surrounding themselves with supportive allies and willing to offer assistance wherever it is needed. They can be overly tolerant, however, willing to endure a less-than-ideal situation than ready to take a risk to change it.
Honesty is the best policy when working with a Nurturer. To work with them, you will first need to build their trust. You can help this process along by gently guiding them toward a mutually beneficial solution. To accomplish this, you also need to maintain contact with the Nurturer, regularly providing evidence as to how a business relationship with you can provide simplicity and support.
A born skeptic, an Examiner will thoroughly examine and evaluate everything that they may work with--including the people. They will unsurprisingly be predisposed to perfectionism, and at the very least, are very thorough. The Examiner is a strong conversationalist, as they use their stores of knowledge and information to their advantage. Efficiency is also a virtue to the Examiner, and so they will move on once their objective has been met, whether that is to the next assignment or to the next event.
As you build a connection with an Examiner, you need to be concise and clear about your position and why it is worth their time to be involved. Lean on facts and evidence to make your point, and only use small talk and stories if they add to the evidence that you are a dependable provider. You need to be sure that you put your best foot forward when interacting with an Examiner, as they will be forming a very strong opinion of you from the get-go.
A Promoter is a salesman, usually an extrovert, and a thought leader. They have the drive to spread any good idea they find, more often identifying them instinctively than through research-based evidence. Promoters often attend industry events to network and socialize. They are usually juggling many different projects, and are rarely confrontational.
Communicating with a Promoter requires you to match their speed and align your needs with their priorities. One such priority is their professional image, so you need to make sure that your offer increases their visibility in the industry. As you deal with a Promoter, make sure that you document the finer details of your agreements in writing, and you fulfil your end of the bargain promptly and professionally. Furthermore, you should always give a Promoter plenty of help whenever it is required to prove that you are the best choice for their needs.
These strategies should enable you to network more directly, with the end result being more business relationships that provide mutual benefit. Which of these personality types do you think you most embody? Tell us in the comments!
Seán is the Managing Director at Aniar IT Services and has been working in IT for over 20 years
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