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Know Your Strength for More Success: Are you a Connector, a Maven, or a Salesman?

Know Your Strength for More Success: Are you a Connector, a Maven, or a Salesman?

    In his book “The Tipping Point”, Malcolm Gladwell describes three different types of people, Connectors, Mavens, and Salesmen.

    Which are you?

    Connectors are people specialists.
    .

    The following questions will help you decide whether you are a Connector:

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    1. Do you know a lot of people?
    2. Do you like people?
    3. Do you tend to remember peoples’ names?
    4. Do you enjoy going to parties and meeting new people?
    5. Do you collect acquaintances?

    If you answered ‘yes’ to four or five of these questions, you are a Connector.

    The strength of Connectors is that they know and keep in touch with many people.

    They also tend to associate with other Connectors. Because of their rich network of friends and acquaintances, Connector are trendsetters. The upside of a Connector is that he or she is able to create and maintain long-lasting friendships. The downside is that Connectors can be dazzled by their vast collection of acquaintances, without investing in real friendships. Gladwell explains:

    Connector are people who link us up with the world. People with a special gift for bringing the world together.

    The power of Social Media on the Internet is the power of connectors. Power-users of StumbleUpon or Digg are Connectors. They can make or break the success of a blogpost because they are people specialists who cultivate a network of online friends.

    Mavens are information specialists.
    .

    They are the ones who tell Connectors about what’s hot. They always have the newest inside scoops on gadgets and specials. The upside of Mavens is that they amass a vast store of knowledge and are eager to share it with others. The downside is that Mavens can sometimes be a bit geeky and awkward around people.

    Here are some questions that will help you decide whether you are a Maven:

    1. Do you enjoy reading junkmail?
    2. Do you seek out the specials in your local supermarket?
    3. Do you tend to watch trends and know what’s ‘in’?
    4. Do you study the market before buying a new gadget?
    5. Do you tell your friends about special deals?

    If you said ‘yes’ to four or five of these questions, you are a Maven.

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    Mavens want to educate, not to sell.

    They take delight in finding out the special deals that will save them money. And they are interested in new technology. They are the ones on the Internet who are the first to investigate new software, or a new laptop or mobile phone. And they don’t keep what they find to themselves. They publish articles about their findings or let their socia media friends know what they think.

    Salesmen are charismatic.

    They are able to build instant rapport with another person and gain their trust.  That Salesmen are able to build rapport implies that they can tune in to others. But there is also another dimension: others find it easy to tune into the emotions of Salesmen. Gladwell explains that some people are very good at expressing emotions and feelings, which means that they are much more ‘socially contagious’ than others.
    Here are some questions that will help you find out if you are a salesman:

    1. Do you find it difficult to sit still when hearing good dance music?
    2. Do you have a loud laugh?
    3. Do you touch friends when you talk with them?
    4. Are you good at seduction?
    5. Do you like being the center of attention?

    If you answered ‘yes’ to four or five of these questions, you are a Salesman.

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    Salesmen make good politicians, spiritual teachers and pastors, and, well…salespeople. Salesmen are larger than life and can make others feel good with their high spirits. The downside of salesmen is that they can be dangerous if they use their charisma in order to manipulate others.

    Are you a Connector, a Maven, or a Salesman?
    .

    Maybe the results aren’t clear cut? Most of us have some talent in all three areas. But there will be one area where you have answered most answers with ‘yes’. That is your primary orientation.

    Now let’s take a look at what to do with this knowledge. How can knowing whether you are a Connector, a Maven, or a Salesman improve your life?

    There are two basic schools of thought in the world of personal growth. One is that one should work on one’s weak sides in order to prosper. The other is that one should accept one’s weaknesses gracefully and focus on developing one’s strength. I tend to agree with the second strategy. For example, I pour my energy into becoming a better writer, instead of taking up painting – which is one of my talent wastelands.

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    The strategy of enhancing our talents means that we should foster the strength we have as a Connector, a Maven, or a Salesman.

    • As a Connector we can focus on connecting others with each other, as well as creating groups where people feel at home.
      .
    • As a Maven, we can focus on sharing our information with others so that they can benefit from our research.
      .
    • As a Salesman, we can focus on making others happy with our good cheer.

    What is your experience of being a Connector, Maven, or Salesman?

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    The Gentle Art of Saying No

    The Gentle Art of Saying No

    No!

    It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

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    But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

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    What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

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    But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

    1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
    2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
    3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
    4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
    5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
    6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
    7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
    8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
    9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
    10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

    Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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