6 Principles To Sharpen Your Persuasion Skills

persuasion skills

Have you ever pondered on why you buy the useless odds and ends sitting in your junk drawer?

Why did you purchase the treadmill that collects dust in the corner of your living room?

Why did you get the Instyler when you’re straightening or curling iron works just as well?

Why do you acquire the name brand cereal instead of the cheaper alternative?

Dr. Robert Cialdini (Professor of Psychology and Marketing at Arizona State University) provides some answers, through the principles of persuasion, which can be very useful in the workplace and outside of it as well.

To sharpen your persuasion skills, Professor Cialdini lists six important influences to keep in mind, using the acronym C.L.A.S.S.-R.

C-Commitment and Consistency

The first letter refers to commitment and consistency in actions and behavior. The desire to remain stable is rooted in our evolutionary psychology.

Dr. Cialdini performed a study, which found that when asked to place a large billboard advertising road safety in their backyard, people were reluctant. However, when people were first asked to place a small sign on their window, many of them agreed. When these people were later asked about placing the larger billboard, 76% of them agreed.

It goes to show that when asking someone to make a large commitment, ask them first to make a small one.

You can probably think about several ways in which this principle can be advantageous in your business endeavors.

For example. instead of asking customers to make large decisions right at the start, ask them to make smaller and insignificant choices first, until it would appear inconsistent for them not to proceed with the larger decision. Most of the time, people prefer to be consistent with previous behavior.


Likability and attractiveness are important aspects of persuasion.

It is no coincidence that actors and actresses are often attractive people; it makes you want to see their work. The same applies to Sales Reps, who are often attractive and friendly people.

This phenomena is known as the “Halo Effect,” which refers to the idea that attractiveness and likability enhances our perception of a person’s expertise/talent.

We have less control over our looks, so Cialdini suggests a few techniques to become more likable:

  • Listening – When dealing with people, call them by their name, be interested in what they have to say, and ask questions. People love hearing their own name and voice.
  • Praise – Complimenting people is a good way to increase your likability and make that person’s day at the same time. Try to be as sincere as you can and compliment something you actually like about that person.
  • Positive Association – Positive association can be a powerful ally. Provide signals to associate yourself, or your product/service/idea, with something positive. For example, car showrooms often have well dressed and sophisticated looking people standing next to the vehicles, to associate the car with luxury and lifestyle.
  • Contrast – Compare what you have on offer, with something that is relatively less desirable.


Following and believing in an authority figure is a natural response.

The Principle of Authority is the driving force behind some of the greatest crimes in history. Cults exist when a charming and charismatic figure enacts laws and patterns for people to follow.

If you are knowledgeable, well trained, and have the degrees to show it, don’t be afraid to flaunt it. Such things can make you more seem more trustworthy and believable.

S-Social Proof

When people do not have enough information, they often look to others to help them make a decision.

They believe that other people are rational.

One of the best examples of this phenomena is the laugh track in sitcoms. They tell you when it is time to laugh, by providing the social proof of other people laughing.

You can use various forms of social proof to be more persuasive, such as numbers/benchmarks, testimonials and name-dropping.


Exclusivity and scarcity are very useful influences.

If diamonds or other rare gems lay on the ground for anyone to find, they would not be such a hot commodity.

Scarcity is a helpful motivator in the decision-making process: it forces a choice without leaving adequate time to deliberate further.


People do not like being in someone’s debt.  If they receive a present or favor, they have a need to pay that action back.

Researchers have hypothesized that this evolutionary value comes from tribal societies that thrive on cooperation and reciprocity. If one member fails to do so, then they are kicked out of the tribe and less likely to survive.

An excellent example of such an idea is that of the Hare Krishnas and how they first give their congregates a small gift (like a flower) before asking for donations.

If you want people to give you something, give them something first: free samples, coupons, promotions, tips, excellent service, etc.

Here’s Cialdini, with some more information on persuasion:

Focus. Slow Down. Take Your Time

slow down at work

Do you sometimes feel like things are moving too fast, that you’re always rushing and that you’re doing too much?

This video essay gives a stirring reminder of the need to slow down. It reminds us not to rush, but to take the time to do each task before us properly, slowly and deliberately.

The illustration is made of the space shuttle being loaded with the potential energy of rocket fuel, poised to achieve escape velocity. The important thing to remember is that space is not achieved in an instant, but in the powerful slow burn of the fuel accelerating the shuttle and launch craft, from the takeoff point and away from Earth into the atmosphere.

As the video essay progresses, it goes on to emphasize how birds do not instantaneously leap into the air, but must build up momentum from a resting position in order to achieve flight. Everything that will travel a greater distance or achieve a great height must first take it slow and prepare well. Archers draw back and hold their arrow, before releasing it on its flight path. A rifleman takes half a breath and holds it when he takes a shot.

After these illustrations are given, the essay addresses the viewers possible objections: how they may feel if they can’t slow down, or how their life does not allow them to take breaks, or that if they stop to think, then everything in their life will come crashing down.

This is followed by the quiet and confident reassurance that stepping back to catch your breath and assess your situation is not only healthy, but essential. It also goes on to posit the idea that no one should deceive themselves into believing that they can do more alone than they can with the help of others. If you are struggling to achieve something, slow down and find some friends, partners, or colleagues that can help you get where you are going.

In the end, the video reiterates its original point about going slowly and steadily to achieve great things. There are flashes and images of people achieving what they set out to do, moving over to the original advice of the video:

Be like the Tortoise, not like the Hare.

Take the time, make the time, or find the time.

Without taking the time to do things slowly and well, all you are accomplishing is losing the race.

Uncover what people are feeling during a negotiation

negotiation tips emotions expressions

The result of research has shown that negotiating is greatly affected by emotions.

If you are unable to read what the other person is feeling and are only able to hear what they are saying, it is very unlikely that you are going to accomplish everything that you could have through the negotiation.

Wheeling and dealing with an experienced negotiator may prove difficult because of his or her ability to mask emotions. Tone, words, expressions, and body language are all carefully chosen. She may seem impassive or natural to the average person observing. On the other hand, if she believes it will assist with advancing personal gain or interest, she may be able to fake emotions rather convincingly.

That being said, there is always a way to read the other person despite her best attempts to keep you from reading them.

According to Kasia Wezowski, from the Center for Body Language, The secret lies in paying attention to all of the spontaneous and involuntary micro expressions that every one of us demonstrates whenever intense emotion is involved. Once you are aware of exactly what it is you are looking for, you will have an automatic window to openly view the feelings of the other person.

You will be happy to hear that this secret isn’t necessarily something you either do or don’t have; it is a practice that you can learn and improve over time. The best way to test how you are progressing is through real life negotiating situations.

Here are some quick tips you may want to keep in mind, to ellicit and observe people’s micro expressions.

The other person’s face should be your focus.

The next time you have a reason to ask a question while involved in a negotiating scenario, spend at least four seconds studying the face of the other person instead of only listening to the words they are saying.

Share a story with the other person.

Negotiators find it easier to hide their emotions while they are doing the talking.

Spend time describing exactly what it is that you want or tell a story to illustrate your points, rather than asking questions that leave you with less to say.

This will provide you with a good window to observe the reactions of your counterpart.

Create several choices for the other person.

Provide them with a list of options.

Then observe their expressions/reactions to the different choices, to see what they do, or do not like.

To learn more about emotions, micro-expressions and consequent success in negotiation as well as other aspects of your career, take a look at this video.

Scientific ways to start making better career and life decisions

make better career and life decisions

Some would argue that bad decisions are a staple in our life.

The only sure thing, is that we will make mistakes; as the saying goes, “We are only human.”

Even research can prove that we make a lot of poor choices, due to various reasons such as cognitive biases. Three common areas that we often err in include our career choices, in our jobs, and in our personal lives.

So if there was a scientifically based protocol for making good decisions, wouldn’t you want to know it?

To start with, instead of gathering as much data or information about a problem, decide to define the problem first, so that you know what you are looking for in terms of a solution.

There is more to decision making than simply having more information about the choices at hand. Quality trumps quantity, as in you need to have the right info rather than simply more. For example, if a doctor is attempting to diagnose a patient, he has to look at gathering the correct scans and data rather than just inventorying the whole human body.  In fact, all that extra information can just get in the way of making an accurate and prompt diagnosis.

Dan Pink, author of several best selling books, comments on this matter, saying that one of the great advances in art and science, is spending more time defining a clear problem.  People who focus more on the problem than the solution, are more successful and go further in their careers.

After you have properly understood the problem and gathered the necessary information, the next step is a surprising one.

You’d think that the best thing would be to take all the emotion out of your decision and simply be objective, logical, and rational. However, that is not always correct.

Stanford professor Baba Shiv says that feelings are a part of making choices.  You should be calm when trying to make a good decision, but other than that, feelings can help steer you in the right direction. Moreover, engaging your emotions while mulling over your choices will often lead to making better decisions.

Empathy can be yet another tool when making sound decisions, which is particularly true for professionals that care for or help others.  Adam Grant (Professor at Wharton), mentions a study which describes what happens when a radiologist sees a photo of their patient along with their x-rays – they end up writing longer, more detailed reports and have significantly better diagnostic accuracy.

So ideally, you should use objectivity and emotions/feelings when making decisions.

But, how do you know when to be objective and when to be subjective when it comes to your decision-making process?

To improve your decision making over time, track your results.

Whenever you have to make a major decision, write down what results you anticipate.  Later on in time, compare your expectations with the actual results.  After a while, you will be able to identify, what works for you and what you are good at, and can use that information to fine-tune your approach in order to make better decisions.

Also remember, you have to know when to finally act on a choice.  Chances are whatever option you finally land at will not be 100% ideal, but you cannot let the fear of not being perfect stop you from making your choice. Usually, good enough will be your best option.  Waiting too long to make the best decision may cause you to miss some great opportunities. Try to avoid over thinking and accept the fact that the search for perfection is a fool’s errand.

In you are still stuck in a stalemate of selections, then try to think about the outside perspective; what kind of advice would you give to someone in your shoes?

And now armed with weapons to defend yourself from indecision and bad choices, go forth brave Padawan and watch how your improved decisions make your career and life even better.

Fascinating business and psychology books for you to read

best business psychology books 2016

Here are a few business and psychology books to watch out for and read this year.

The Confidence Game: Why We Fall for It … Every Time – by Maria Konnikova

Think you can spot a con a mile away?

Think again. You can be conned, just like anyone else. Cheats may be a dime a dozen and easy for most people to spot, but the Bernie Madoff’s of the world are much harder to recognize.

What makes them successful at it? How do they pull it off?

From schemes totaling millions of dollars to small scale fraud, Konnikova details the things all of them have in common.

Smarter Faster Better: The Secrets of Being Productive in Life and Business – by Charles Duhigg

Ever wonder why some people get so much more done?

Now you can understand and learn to apply the same principles to your own life.

This book draws from behavioral economics, neuroscience, psychology, and the experiences of CEOs, four-star generals, educational reformers, airplane pilots, FBI agents, and Broadway songwriters to show the difference between the busy and the genuinely productive.

Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World – by Adam Grant

Grant explores how to buck the trend and create new policies, ideas, and practices without risking everything.

How to speak up and not be silenced; how to build allies and choose the time to act; how to battle self-doubt and fear; how leaders can build a culture which welcomes dissenting opinions; and how to help your children to find their originality.

The Mind Club: Who Thinks, What Feels, and Why it Matters – by Daniel M. Wegner & Kurt Gray

We know humans can think and feel, but what about animals? A computer? A corporation?

Minds are a matter of perception, according to the authors, which opens a whole treasure trove of new insights into fascinating human behaviors.

For example, why do we eat some animals and not others? And, how can cruelty come from otherwise good people?

On Being Human: Why Mind Matters – by Jerome Kagan

What do you know and why do you know it?

That’s the question from psychologist Jerome Kagan.

He deals with kinds of knowing, the meaning of words, the influences of social class, education, morality, and emotion, along with other complex issues of the human condition.

What Works: Gender Equality by Design – by Iris Bohnet

Unconscious bias can hold us back, and de-biasing people’s minds is a difficult and expensive task.

Diversity training is limited in its success, but by de-biasing organizations, rather than individual people, we can improve people’s lives and productivity.

Does Your Family Make You Smarter?: Nature, Nurture, and Human Autonomy – by James R. Flynn

Nature vs. Nurture is at the heart of this book.

It’s probably not much of a surprise that family environment can either be an advantage or disadvantage to intelligence levels.

But why? What about the concept of autonomy? How does that influence intelligence? Genetics and family aside, can we choose to develop our cognitive performance?

If You’re So Smart, Why Aren’t You Happy? – By Raj Raghunathan

If intelligence is supposed to help with making decisions, smart people should be better equipped to make good life choices.

So, why doesn’t that necessarily lead to happiness?

Raghunathan tries to answer that question.

Algorithms to Live By: The Computer Science of Human Decisions – by Brian Christian & Tom Griffiths

Ever wonder if computer algorithms could be applied to daily life?

Well, according to Christian and Griffiths, they can.

And they can help with questions like when to leave things to chance, how to deal with overwhelming choices, and much more.

Peak: Secrets From the New Science of Expertise – by Anders Ericsson & Robert Pool

Do you think innate talent is needed to excel?

Most people would say so, but almost all humans have the seeds within to do so.

It’s a matter of reducing the process down to attainable goals and practices.

Peak offers advice on setting goals, identifying patterns, and motivating oneself and others.

The Power Paradox: How We Gain and Lose Influence – by Dacher Keltner

Power is said to corrupt, but how does it change our behavior?

How is it that we so often lose our power, which was so hard-won?

Power which endures comes from empathy and giving. Power is given, which is often forgotten.

By misunderstanding where power comes from, we set ourselves up to lose power. We can only retain it by understanding it.

Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth

Why do some succeed and some fail?

Grit, that special blend of perseverance and passion, is what makes the difference between success and failure, rather than genius.

But, most importantly, grit can be learned.

Idiot Brain: What Your Head is Really Up To – by Dean Burnett

What if I told you conspiracy theories are the result of a healthy brain?

Did you know memory is egotistical?

Brains are the seat of consciousness, but they are downright disorganized and fallible.

Humans have made many mistakes trying to understand the brain, but there is much to explore and celebrate.

Invisible Influence: The Hidden Forces That Shape Behavior – by Jonah Berger

There are many subtle influences that affect the decisions we make, and the process by which we make them.

Everything from what we buy and what we eat, to which careers we choose are influenced by things we may not even recognize.

We are highly influenced by other peoples’ behavior, both in conforming to and diverging from that behavior.

When we understand social influence, we can know when to embrace it and when to resist it.

Goal Setting and Personal Development : A Complete Guide & Toolkit

goal setting and personal development

Here’s what this guide and toolkit will help you do:

  • Get a good understanding of the importance and process of setting goals, for your life/career.
  • Use this understanding to develop career goals for the short, medium and long term.
  • Identify your weaknesses, in relation to the career goals, and prepare an action plan for addressing them.

What you need to do:

  1. Start by reading the guide below (supporting document – Making Smart Goals Smarter)
  2. Then complete the following workbooks (in order).
    1. Self Assessment Exercises
    2. Career Goals
    3. Career Goals Summary
    4. Action Plan

All the best!

What makes one team more successful than another?

what makes a team successful

A team is not limited to a group of athletes.

Teams are created to do all sorts of everyday tasks, in almost every career field.

A team of chefs or cooks may be assembled to operate a restaurant. A corporation may assemble a team of executives to handle a major project. Or a team of volunteers may work together to organize a charity event.

Regardless of the goal being aimed for, the success of a team cannot happen just by getting smart individuals together. You need to build a smart team, in order to be more successful the the average team out there.

So what makes one team smarter and more successful? Anita Williams Woolley, from Carnegie Mellon University, has some answers. Read on, to find out.

Communication is a huge ingredient in any team. Smooth operations happen with clear and distributed communication.

Each member of the team needs to have a role and be involved, as far as communicating is concerned. Studies show that a team is much less effective, when team conversations/communications are dominated by one or two members.

There is nothing wrong with having a leader or dominant people in a team. However, a people need to recognize when they need to be listening to other members. Everyone needs to be involved and giving their full attention, as well as making a contribution vocally.

This applies to both physical and virtual communication.

Although a team leader may be necessary, studies have shown that a team accomplishes more without having one or two stand out superstars. Collective intelligence always produces more than individual intelligence.

A single person trying to accomplish more than their share or stepping out of their role can produce a negative effect throughout the rest of the team. When everyone is involved and the team is working together, they are more likely to accomplish more with less time and effort.

Gender diversity is important. Teams that have at least 50% women perform better.

One reason for this, is that women have more social perceptiveness.

Hundreds of teams that were tested, demonstrated more intelligence as a group when the team was more socially perceptive.

These teams show the ability to pick up on non-verbal communicating such as facial expressions and body posture.

The teams that are able to read each other’s minds through their eyes, demonstrated more collective intelligence and accomplished more.

It is also needed to note that as a whole, the collective intelligence of any given team is always driven by its lowest scoring member.

While a single person cannot make an entire team by themselves, any individual does have the ability of slowing a team down.

So individuals who may drag the team down, such as overly negative or dominant people, should be avoided. If such people must be included in the team, then they should be actively managed.

Watch this video for more insights on the topic:

Calling All Extroverts & Introverts – Increase your career success & well-being

extroverts vs introverts job singapore

Are you an extrovert or an introvert?

To find out, or confirm what you already know, take a look at these infographics.

They also provide great insights on:


extroverts career success happy singapore


introverts career success happy singapore


Body language – Fake it till you feel it

benefits of body language singapore

Body language expresses much more about you than the words that are coming out of your mouth.

Research shows that as much as sixty to ninety percent of our communication is nonverbal.

Are you aware that using positive body language can improve your confidence and mood, as well as make you seem more credible and trustworthy to others?

It’s true.

benefits of body language singapore

So, what exactly is positive body language?

Positive body language is defined as nonverbal movements and gestures that communicate interest and a positive reaction to what someone else is saying.

This includes posture, eye contact, space, and what you do with your arms and hands.

How does practicing positive body language improve your attitude? 

It affects your hormones.


Using positive body language is a natural way to boost your body’s testosterone levels.

Higher testosterone levels have been shown to boost confidence and help others to perceive you as more positive and honest.

Increases of twenty percent have been reported due to the use of positive body language.


This is a hormone in your body that is created by stress.

High cortisol levels can hurt your mental performance during stressful situations.

Decreasing cortisol levels, therefore, improves mental performance when the pressure is on.

The use of positive body language has been shown to decrease the cortisol levels in the body by up to twenty-five percent.

The Combination

Lower cortisol levels coupled with higher testosterone levels is a match made in heaven.

People with high testosterone and low cortisol levels have been shown to thrive in pressure situations, and often achieve positions of power.

Using positive body language is an effective way for you to increase your personal performance levels.


Your body language can signal to others almost immediately what kind of person you are.

Using positive cues can make you more likable, seem more competent, and even give you the upper hand in negotiations.

On the other hand, negative body language can make you seem standoffish, arrogant, and unwilling to listen, which tends to spoil the mood of all those around you (and your mood as well).

Wrap up and further reading

Traditionally, we have viewed body language as an outward display of how we feel inside.

While this can be true, this evidence shows that if we consciously act like in a positive way, our body releases hormones to make it a reality.

In other words – You can fake it, till you feel it.

To be more successful at work, in relationships, and at life in general, practice positive body language. Here are some tips to practice this.

You can also utilize the effects of body language by using a power pose when you communicate with others, to give off the vibe of being successful. People notice this, and will want to do more business with you.

It can also be extremely useful to deliver better job interviews and be better at pubic speaking & presentations.

Work smarter – Think for a moment

work smarter not harder

You’ve probably heard it before – “Don’t work harder, work smarter.”

Working smarter does not mean doing less work or making someone else do the work for you.

It means working in ways that allow you to get more done, in a better way, with less pain.

Recently, business psychologists from Harvard, UNC, and HEC Paris have published their results from a series of productivity experiments.

In the first experiment they conducted, over 200 adults completed a brain teaser.

A group of them was then asked to immediately complete a second and third brain teaser, while a different group was asked to reflect for five minutes on the first brain teaser. A third group was asked to reflect and then write down their thoughts about the best strategy for completing the brain teaser, as if they were showing someone else how to do it.

The results showed that those who spent time reflecting after the first task did significantly better than the group who did not. It didn’t matter if they wrote down their strategies or not — simply thinking about the work they did, helped them to perform better, rather than just powering through the next task.

This same test was repeated on an entirely different batch of people. This time, the experiment was conducted with students and had very similar results.

After concluding these experiments, the researchers took this experiment into the business world. They found a tech support company in India that agreed to let them look at their new employee training methods.

The researchers split the trainees into three groups titled Control, Reflection, and Sharing. They then let the new employees proceed as they would normally, except for one thing. The Reflection and Sharing groups got to walk out of training for the last 15 minutes every day to sit and think about they had learned. The Sharing group got to write in a journal as if they were teaching someone what they just learned.

At the end of the entire training program, the employees in the Reflection and Sharing groups scored 22.8 percent higher than the Control group that did not get a chance to reflect. Also, there wasn’t much of a difference between the Reflection and Sharing groups.

The psychologists wrote, “Individuals perform significantly better on subsequent tasks when they think about what they learned from the task they completed.”

The take away is simple –  taking time to think about your experiences increases learning and supports subsequent performance.

work better career success singapore

What does this mean for us?

It means that often we wrongly equate working long hours with productivity. However, constantly working is hard work, not smart work.

You now know one quick way to work smarter and better.

The time that we spend to just sit and think is very scarce.

But, science is telling us, that just a few minutes of time to think about what we’re doing will largely increase our performance and our work abilities.

If you just put aside a short 15-20 minutes a day for reflection after some tasks, meetings, deadlines and at the end of each day, you will get a lot more done and do it better, than if you just kept going and going throughout the whole day.

Working smarter isn’t that hard — we just need to change our routines to create some space.

Research-backed ways to increase your career effectiveness and success

career work success

There are certain habits and mindsets that science has proven to linked with success.

Keep reading for tips that are scientifically proven to increase your career effectiveness and success.

Expand Your Network

Study after study shows that having a large network made up of unconnected people builds your chances of success.

Additionally, you need to put yourself out there and meet as many new people as possible from various walks of life.

Doing so will open you up to a wide variety of potentially life-changing opportunities.

Use the “Zeigarnik Effect”

According to the Zeigarnik Effect, unfinished projects and tasks tend to stay in your thoughts more than finished ones.

If you have a project you’ve been procrastinating on, simply take the first step toward completing it and you will be more likely to finish it on time. Doing so is essential to success.

Delay Gratification

Try and make delayed gratification part of your everyday life.

Practice self control in small and big situations, as opposed to electing to take the easy route.

Try Out a Power Pose

Many successful people will tell you about the benefits of body language.

By using a power pose in the way you communicate with others, you simply give off the vibe of being successful.

People notice this, and will want to do more business with you.

It can also be extremely useful to deliver better job interviews and be better at pubic speaking & presentations.

Make Decisions in the Morning

Successful people are constantly faced with decisions.

Making them at all times of the day can lead to what is known as “decision fatigue.”

To help prevent falling into this trap, try and schedule all of your important decision making in the morning. By doing this at the beginning of the day, you know exactly how to tackle your goals going forward.

Aim For Happiness

For most of us, we simply have the order backward by believing that success equals happiness.

However, it turns out we just need to reverse our thinking to achieve both.

In other words, we need to be happy in order to succeed.

Think of Progress as a Reward

To be successful, you need to start thinking of progress as the reward for your efforts, rather than a paycheck or benefits.

By doing this, you begin to focus more on where you’re going.

In fact, according to science, money is not what people look at when determining success. Instead, success is based off of the triumphs and achievements they can associate with a person.

Identity and Use Your Strengths at Work

If you want to succeed professionally, only trying to fix your weaknesses will not benefit you enough.

You need to use your strengths as leverage to ensure you succeed.

Keep Learning to Stay Competitive

With many amazing online education and learning websites at your disposal to help your develop your skills, you can make sure you have a leg up on the competition now.

Ask for Advice

The failure of many employees to ask for advice keeps them from learning new and valuable skills/information every day at work.

Don’t Wait for Formal Performance Reviews

Getting good feedback from relevant people can be very useful.

It can be especially important when it comes to the workplace, as feedback can help you grow and thrive in your field, increasing your value to employers.

Unfortunately, however, most people do not give and receive feedback often enough. Often it might be limited to just an annual evaluation with your boss.

Become Better at Learning from Your Mistakes

Everyone makes mistakes but how we view them and deal with them, determines a lot about how well we learn and succeed.


Networking – Misconceptions, Benefits & Strategies

networking business career

A network is a set of relationships that you depend on to get things done and to get ahead in your career.

Networks are the crucial part of your work life since they allow you to generate new ideas, gather information and obtain the support that you need to expand your influence.

In spite of its importance, professionals hardly invest enough time in creating an effective network.

One of the biggest challenges that people face is investing time in creating and maintaining networks, since it is a long-term process and may not yield results immediately.

The other thing that holds us back is that we just don’t know how to do it.

In this video, Herminia Ibarra (Professor at INSEAD), provides some insights on how to build an effective network, common misconceptions about networking, types of networks and more. Watch the video or read on for the highlights.

Here Are Two Common Misconceptions About Networking:

  1. We believe that relationships should be developed spontaneously. If it requires strategic effort, it makes us feel calculative and sleazy. But, our spontaneous networks do not give us the diversity of ideas, inputs, information or sources that we need to be effective.
  2. We believe that significant relationships are only with those who we know and trust. However, research shows that there is strength in weak ties (people who are not that close to us) as well. These weak ties are those connections that help us get jobs for example. They are the bridges to organizations and social circles that we do not have access to.

Types and Qualities of Effective Networks

There are three types of Networks:

  1. Operational: Relationship that we have with people at work.
  2. Personal: Informal relationships.
  3. Strategic: Blend of internal and external relationships.

Three qualities of an effective network are:

  1. Broad: You should have a diverse network from across departments and organizations.
  2. Connective: You should be able to reach out to beyond your immediate circle and vice versa.
  3. Dynamic: Keep your network growing through the years.

Gender and Networking

Creating and managing networks can become a little challenging for women in a male-dominated workplace, especially once they have children and family.

Focusing your time on meeting new people, multi-tasking, and bringing your attention to the value that you bring to your network, can help you overcome these challenges.

Strategies to Expand Your Network

  1. Identify activities to get involved in, like conferences, seminars, networking events and extracurricular activities, to meet new people.
  2. Connect with new people with the help of referrals from already existing relationships. Take this opportunity to identify and create contacts that will be relevant for future career opportunities.
  3. Try and build open networks.
  4. Do an audit of your network and to gauge it’s breadth, connectivity and dynamism. This will help you identify areas where your network is lacking and how you can improve.

The most important thing about networking is to get started NOW!