One skill every successful networker must possess is the ability to communicate with all types of people.

Communication skill may make the difference between making it as a professional networker, and being trapped in a job for the rest of your life. Nothing will propel you faster and higher than developing a communication style that creates an emotional connection with your prospects.

Most people have developed just enough communication skill to interact with people of similar background, philosophy, social standing and interests. The master communicator has learned how to make a connection with anyone he or she meets. The difference can be measured in money, status, and overall success and fulfillment in life.

How do you establish an emotional connection? By adapting your style of communication to the style of your prospect--what I call "chameleon communication." The amateur communicator has one way of talking and interacting with others. The professional communicator can adapt and change with the environment, background, and personality style of the prospect.

Former President Bill Clinton is a perfect example. Some experts have even said that it was Clinton's chameleon-like communication style that got him elected--and kept him from being ejected from the White House. Clinton has the ability to connect to the country's wealthiest people--and its poorest. Clinton was so popular among African Americans, some of them affectionately dubbed him "the first Black President."

How did he do it? By customizing his words, body language, mannerisms and attitude to match the person or groups he was addressing. The psychological dynamic that occurs to the audience is: "He's just like me. He understands me and my problems--therefore, he can help me get what I want."

It's not rocket science,
but it made a poor boy from Arkansas the most powerful man on the planet.

How do you learn to connect like Clinton? The same way you become an expert on your company's product line: study and practice. Here's the system many professional communicators use to build their connection skills:

1. Become an expert in personality styles. The four major styles are: Director, Thinker, Relater, and Socializer.

2. Determine the personality style of your prospect.

3. Practice communicating your business presentation in the four different styles.

4. Role-play with your friends and associates with each personality style. Ask them for honest feedback to these simple questions: Did I connect with you? If so, why? If not, why not? Listen carefully and make the necessary adjustments.

Follow this system, and your confidence and charisma will grow and help you create a lasting connection with your prospects--and your entire organization.




STEVE SIEBOLD is co-founder
of the Gove-Siebold group ( and writes for Networking Times.