Networking Is Not One Size Fits All

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Networking Is Not One Size Fits All

Learning how to network to different personality types can give you a big advantage!

When you are at a networking event, every person you come in contact with has a personality that drives what they say and do when networking.  This personality also shapes how they react to everything you say and do.

Three people walking down a path and talking.

What you say and how you say it has a huge impact on the end result of every conversation. Do you know how to adjust your networking to accommodate these personality differences and get the best results?

A sidewalk with three woman walking and talking.

Should you be direct and emphasize the results your prospects experience after using your product or service? Or should you focus on how you build relationships? The approach you take depends on the personality of your networking partner. Basically, your networking personality needs to be aligned with the person you are talking with if you want them to be excited to network (and work) with you more.

People networking with coloured thought bubbles.

These personalities can be grouped in to four major types and go by a multitude of names:

  • Sanguine, Choleric, Melancholic, Phlegmatic
  • Dominance, Influence, Steadiness, Conscientiousness (D.I.S.C.)
  • Assertive, Amiable, Expressive, Analytical
  • Competitive, Spontaneous, Humanistic, Methodical
  • Red, Yellow, Green and Blue

D.I.S.C. is probably the most well-known, but the colors are currently my favorite. That system focuses on how people make decisions and how businesses can help them make a decision.   Let’s look at how each type networks.

A red paint can and paint brush graphic.


The Red Networker

Reds are goal oriented and competitive, direct communicators and decisive.  When it comes to business, results are more important to them than personal relationships. They are not the customer that will send you an annual Christmas card, but if you and your product perform as promised you will maintain a positive business relationship.

The color yellow artwork.


The Yellow Networker

Yellows love being surrounded by a great team and being able to collaborate. They are social and love being the center of attention in public. They are creative and enthusiastic and love to experience new things.  To a yellow the world is full of ideas and possibilities, and the possibility to come up with an idea that changes the world is their holy grail.

A picture of the color green.


The Green Networker

Greens care deeply about the people around them and continually put their needs ahead of their own.  They focus much more on the feelings of others than any of the other colors.  Greens are great listeners and tend to ask more personal questions in an attempt to get to know you outside of the professional setting.  Long term relationships are key to their success.

A paint roller with the color blue on it.


The Blue Networker

This is me.  We crave data. We don’t feel comfortable making a decision until all the facts are available, laid out, and analyzed (and analyzed again). We like structure and processes and deadlines; and we stick to our deadlines. Blues are less expressive when communicating and because we are more concerned with facts rather than feelings we don’t spend as much time getting to know you on a personal level. In meetings we are much more serious, direct and formal. Many times this is misconstrued as being aloof or unfriendly when really we are just very focused.

Three giraffes talking together with one being dominant.

Networking with any of these personality types is pretty straight forward.  Everyone does have aspects of the other types in their personality but there is normally one type that is dominant.

Here are some tips on how to align your personality with your networking partners and get the most from your networking.

If you are a…

Red – Relax and let others lead the conversation.  Don’t jump right to doing business.

Yellow – Avoid interrupting or being the star of the show.  Focus on who you are with now and not who you are going to talk to next.

Green – Speak up. Come prepared with questions and conversation starters. People want to learn about you!

Blue – Look interested and engage in small talk.

A coffee table with a group of people discussing ideas.

If you are talking to a…

Red – Let them talk and don’t take their brusqueness personally.  Ask about their achievements and successes with customers.

Yellow – Let them tell stories and smile. Talk about how the two of you can work together.

Green – Ask about their family or team. Talk about more than just your business. Don’t press them to share too quickly.

Blue – Move to more substantive discussions more quickly.  Ask about their projects and ask follow up questions that allow them to share detail.

A room filled with networkers in front of a large window.

At your next networking event, pay attention to how people interact with you and the questions they ask. You will be able to adapt your strategy to the prospect you are working with and have a much better results.

Kevin Snow is a Director Consultant with BNI MN and Founder of Time On Target. He has over 20 years experience in sales and sales management in the technology and digital marketing industries. His passion is working with entrepreneurs to help them develop effective sales strategies and processes for their businesses.  Over the last 15 years Kevin has worked with thousands of entrepreneurs and sales professionals through consulting and training to help them close over $150 million in new business by leveraging their existing relationships and better communicating their product’s differentiating benefits.

Check out this Walker This Way video which discusses the need to recognize the positives that your fellow BNI member brings to the table!

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