Here on episode 65 of The Nurse Keith Show, I discuss
the four types of nursing networkers
and why you need to understand them.
There are people who network for all types of reasons, and there are people who go about their networking very badly. This episode of The Nurse Keith Show is about the four major types of networkers that I developed for my book, “Savvy Networking For Nurses: Getting Connected and Staying Connected in the 21st Century.”
There are various types of negative networkers out there, and two that I see a lot are the networking vulture and the energy vampire. The networking vulture circles the room, looking for an unwitting victim upon whom he or she can descend so that they can press their business card into the victim’s hand, talk about themselves, and move on to the next person. The vultures try to sell you something without even wanting to know who you are or what you’re all about.
The energy vampire sucks others dry; he or she is a “me monster” and a black hole, absorbing the energy of everyone else, taking up space, and giving nothing in return. When the conversation isn’t focused on them, they disengage.
Now that we have those people out of the way, let’s focus in on those who go about networking with verve, skill, and sensitivity, all the while keeping in mind what they can do for others.
I have met some consummate networkers in my day, and many of them are in my various circles of influence. Off the top of my head I can name at least five people who are almost flawless in their networking skills and practices. These people dress up, show up, follow up, connect, listen, and then listen some more. They’re superstars in my digital Rolodex.
If you Google “types of networkers,” there are a great many lists developed by various writers, experts, and thought leaders. I’ve taken the opportunity to conjure up my own four archetypes for your edification. Like any system of archetypes, most people don’t fit just one; you may see aspects of yourself or people you know in many or all of these, and that’s fine. At different times, we all embody and manifest various skills and attributes, and we can choose to develop and strengthen the aspects that will serve us best.
Personally, I straddle several networking archetypes. I’m generally fairly gregarious and extroverted in most circumstances at this point in my life, but I also have times when my introverted nature is more prevalent. So, if I’m attending a networking event or conference during a period of time when my introverted nature has come to the fore, I can fake it and force myself to reach out, or I can hang back and try to connect with one special person, not thirty. It’s a dance, and we make our own steps in the moment.
The Four Networking Types
So, my friends, here’s my list of the four main types of skilled, positive networkers I have observed in action:
Connectors are all about connecting their colleagues with one another. Connectors see potential in the coming together of various individuals or groups, and they skillfully plan and coordinate so that like-minded friends or colleagues can meet, interact, and potentially collaborate. These types of networkers keep their contacts top of mind, and they’re excellent at seeing the 10,000-foot view of how one person meeting another could result in positive outcomes.
The Connector will set up a conference call, send an introductory email to various parties in order to start a conversation, or invite three colleagues to meet him or her for a lunchtime meet and greet. Once the conversation gets going, they sit back and enjoy, but they can also, if need be, skillfully facilitate the conversation in positive and interesting directions that honor each person at the table. The Connector thrives on connecting people to one another, and generally asks for nothing in return.
Pollinators like to sprinkle their networking dust where it will most readily have a beneficial impact. Pollinators may not introduce individuals to one another as readily as Connectors; rather, they empower and cajole particular individuals to fulfill their potential by urging them out into a particular sphere or world. The Pollinator will give a colleague a VIP invitation to a big networking event, and explain how attending may be very beneficial for that individual. Pollinators are like networking Fairy Godmothers, and they are thrilled when their seeds of empowerment result in blossoming success.
Collaborators rarely miss an opportunity to consider how they might collaborate with a connection in order to build a process or endeavor that will result in a mutually beneficial outcome. When they’re talking to a colleague or connection, their mind is in overdrive, considering various ways in which this connection could result in a mutually beneficial collaborative effort.
Collaborators are community-minded; they like to roll up their sleeves, put on their thinking caps, and match wits and share ideas with colleagues who are equally excited about collaborative ventures and the magic they can create.
The Quiet Networker:
The Quiet Networker is less out front than the others, but no less effective. He or she is more of a wallflower at big events, and prefers quiet, one-on-one meetings that can be examined from the peace of his or her own mind and heart. Quiet Networkers may not be as exciting or dynamic on the outside, but they’re deep thinkers who consider their networking very carefully, and love the depth of connection that comes with forethought and measured action. They’re the networking Tortoise to the Connector’s Hare.
Which of these four networking archetypes most fits your personality as a networker, or are there two or three in which you see yourself? (I actually see myself in all four!)
The NNBA and Networking Nurses
In the fall of 2015, I recorded episode 29 of the Nurse Keith Show from Las Vegas, Nevada, where I was glowing from a glorious time at the annual conference of the National Nurses in Business Association (NNBA). Well, from October 14th to 16th of this year, I’ll be back at the 2016 NNBA conference with bells on, and I’m super psyched that Kevin Ross and Elizabeth Scala—my partners in crime at RNFM Radio—will also be with me.
Just as a heads up, the three of us from RNFM Radio will be putting on a pre-conference workshop where attendees will be able to learn the basics of podcasting, and actually go home with all of the information they need to actually launch a podcast on a shoestring. There are other great pre-conferences on the schedule, as well, but we obviously want you to come to ours because it’s going to be fantastic. Check it all out here.
The Nurse Keith Show is adroitly edited and produced by Tim Hallowell of The PodcastingGuy.com; social media and promotion are expertly handled by Mark Capispisan.
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Be well, dig deep, and keep in touch!
Keith Carlson, RN, BSN, NC-BC, is the Board Certified Nurse Coach behind NurseKeith.com and the well-known blog, Digital Doorway.
Keith is co-host of RNFMRadio.com, a wildly popular nursing podcast; he also hosts The Nurse Keith Show, his own podcast focused on career advice and inspiration for nurses. Keith is also the resident nursing career expert at Nurse.com.
A widely published nurse writer, Keith is the author of “Savvy Networking For Nurses: Getting Connected and Staying Connected in the 21st Century.” He has also contributed chapters to a number of books related to the nursing profession, and currently writes for MultiViews News Service, LPNtoBSNOnline.com, StaffGarden, and Working Nurse Magazine.
Mr. Carlson brings a plethora of experience as a nurse thought leader, online nurse personality, holistic career coach, writer, and well-known successful nurse entrepreneur. He lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico with his lovely and talented wife, Mary Rives.