Leaders network, create networks and grow networks – Leaders build tribes and communities in which team members feel psychologically safe, recognise trust as a key component and eventually collaborate to meet goals. It’s largely about nurturing your social capital. This includes managing your valuable networks in the organization and external to the organization. In a networking process, it involves, facilitating the brain state of the other, leveraging some simple conversation mental models and using feedback to sustain the conversation. We may make it sound simple, but to be an effective networker, understanding the brain a little may be helpful.

Fiske and Taylor (1980), discovered a ubiquitous tendency among humans: to think only as much as they feel they need to and no more. It’s from this research that the metaphor of “cognitive miser” was born. Our brains rely on simple, efficient thought processes to get the job done. We can be plagued with confirmation bias and primacy effects that can influence the way that we view the other person.

In order to develop skills for effective networking, we need to consider a mentality of being less of a “cognitive miser” and more deliberate and purposeful when we meet someone at a networking event. Maintaining a favourable state of mind, giving the other space and time to share and constantly exploring topics for mutual benefit are all vital factors for developing skills in networking. It’s about forming trust quickly so that conversations can be kept engaging and ongoing.

What are you doing to tweak your mastery and connect at your next networking event?