Common Sense, Networking and Success

Positive personal impact is one of the keys to success that I discuss in Straight Talk for Success.  If you want to create positive personal impact, you need to do three things well.  1) Create and nurture your unique personal brand.  2) Be impeccable in your presentation of self – in person and on line.  3) Know and follow the basic rules of etiquette.

People who create positive personal impact are good at turning contacts into relationships.  I saw an article by Barry Farber ( called “Good Connections” in the January issue of Entrepreneur Magazine (  Barry began the article by asking two very good questions…

  • “How do you make the most of every contact you make?” 
  • “How can you gain the trust of your contacts so they’ll start connecting you to all the people in their network?”

He goes on to say, “The greatest networkers have a simple, practical system for making a lasting impression and building a strong foundation for future success.”

Barry Farber and I are on the same page when it comes to building your personal network.  Here is a summary of the common sense points for making connections and creating positive personal impact on which we both agree.

• Start off strong.  Give new contacts a firm handshake and look them in the eye.  If you display an upbeat attitude and a sincere eagerness to meet another person, he or she is likely to reciprocate.

• Listen more than you talk.  Find out what makes another person tick.  I always suggest listening about two thirds of the time and speaking only one third of the time when you first meet someone.  This ratio works well for me.

• Ask questions.  Listen to the answers.  Respond appropriately.  Most people like to speak about themselves.  Your questions will give them the opportunity to do so.

• Look for common interests.  Family, sports and hobbies are a great place to look for common interests.  Once you find a common interest, you can really begin to make a conversation flow.

• Offer to help.  Do what you can to help the other person.  Recommend a book or web site.  Surround yourself with interesting people that others might want to meet.  Offer to connect the new people you meet with your contacts.  Offer to provide a reference to someone you know who might need his or her expertise.

• To thine own self be true.  Be yourself when you meet new people.  Don’t try to be what you think others want you to be.  Barry Farber says, “Be honest about what you do, who you are and what you believe.

• Follow up.  You can make a great first impression, but if you don’t follow up with the people you meet, your first impression is of no value.  Follow up is the glue that helps turn contacts into relationships.

Barry concludes his article in Entrepreneur with these words…

“Nothing really new here – it’s common sense.  And guess what?  Common sense isn’t so common anymore.”

Maybe common sense has never been very common.  About 100 years ago, Will Rogers, a famous American humorist said, “Common sense ain’t all that common.”  That’s why I have designated his birthday, November 4 as “Use Your Common Sense Day.”  More on this in future posts.

Speaking of common sense, the common sense point here is simple.  Successful people create positive personal impact.  Positive personal impact is key to building a network of solid connections.  You can create a strong connections – and build positive personal impact – by doing simple things like looking people in the eye, offering a firm handshake, listening to what they have to say and responding appropriately, introducing others to the people in your network and following up with the people you meet.

That’s my take on common sense, networking and creating positive personal impact.  What’s yours?  Please leave a comment sharing your thoughts with us.  As always, you have my deepest and most sincere thanks for reading.


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