Flirting vs. Networking: What’s the Difference?

April 21, 2016

Connect Member

Women's Leadership Development Consultant

laurawcampbell.com

Through my work with clients, I have taught the art of flirtation and the art of networking. Having taught both, I have come to the realization that they are, at their core, the same. To be successful at either, one must possess the ability to attract and connect. While the intentions are different for each, the skills are not. Both flirtation and networking rely on generating interest from prospective partners and a mutual desire to continue building the relationship over time.

What most people don’t know is that flirting and networking are merely reflections of how you feel about yourself. Successful flirtation is a reflection of how you feel in your life. Successful networking is a reflection of how you feel in your career. To excel, it’s critical that you create a life and career that you love and in which you feel inspired.

If you are at a place in your life where you are either flirting or networking — or both! — here are five tips for success.

1. Give them just enough, and always leave them wanting more.
Networking and flirting are about first impressions. It’s important to approach each with an intention to share just enough about yourself, so that when the conversation ends, the other person leaves wanting to know more about you. Creating intrigue and interest is a goal for every encounter.

2. Do your homework, because they will too.
When meeting new people, do some research before kicking off a relationship. Take time to learn as much as you can about them through mutual friends and colleagues, and through social media like Linkedin and Facebook. This research will give you the information you need to cultivate a relationship. Of course, while you’re researching, the other party will likely be doing the same as they continue getting to know you.

3. Don’t rush the relationship.
Neither flirting nor networking work when you are overeager and push for too much too soon.  There is nothing worse than meeting someone who shoves their business card in your hand and asks for your business before you have even gotten to know them. It’s like flirting with someone who suggests a weekend away before your first date. Focus on building a relationship before taking the next step. If you build a relationship on honesty and trust, your time spent developing camaraderie will be worth it.

4. Be curious.
There is always the temptation to talk about ourselves in our eagerness to share our best attributes. One of Dale Carnegie’s key principles in How to Win Friends and Influence People was to be a good listener, so as to encourage others to talk about themselves. You can’t help but inspire attraction and connection when you ask questions and show sincere and enthusiastic interest.

5. Keep it real.
The extent to which you are open, honest, and real is the extent to which you can create a relationship that can grow. We live in a world where there is an abundance of singles looking for love and professionals seeking new business. Many of us have heard and seen it all when flirting or networking. The one thing that we haven’t seen is you and your unique personality, talent, and charisma. Success in flirting or networking takes time and an authentic commitment to the results you want, so keep it real.

Laura Campbell is a member of the DailyWorth Connect program. Read more about the program here.

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