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Leadership development

How to be a team connector

February 18, 2020
The best team players connect their teammates with one another and spread ideas around. And they are appropriately exploratory, seeking ideas from outside the group but not at the expense of group engagement. In a study of executives attending an intensive one-week executive education class at MIT, the more of these 'charismatic connectors' a team had, the more successful it was.
Improve the way you connect with people

Connectors are often natural leaders

They circulate. They talk and listen to people. At work, they have a lot of short face-to-face conversations every day with immediate team mates and others. Their style of speaking is compelling and memorable.

They’re good for teams

Research shows that the more connectors a team has, the better its members will work together. These teams are also more likely to be high performing.

Can you become a connector?

Not everyone is a natural social butterfly. Many introverts dread social events and public speaking. You may be one of them, but with a little work you can improve the way you connect.

Try these tips…

1. Come out of your shell

Talk to people when there’s an opportunity, not just when you need to. Make sure you’re talking to people in the real world and not just online.

2. Listen actively

Concentrate on what other people tell you. Think about why it’s important to them.

3. Be interested

Show you’re listening. Drive the conversation forward by asking questions about what the other person tells you.

4. Speak persuasively

It’s always easier to talk about something if you care about it. Think about what excites you about the work you’re doing. Get enthused and communicate your enthusiasm.

5. Be prepared

Keep track of current trends. Know what’s happening in business and technology, and in your industry particularly. Make a habit of storing up anything interesting you spot to talk about later.

6. Know your stuff

Connectors are go to people. Build a reputation for having up-to-date industry and company information.

Hint: talking to the people around you really helps with this.

7. Build your confidence

Projecting confidence breeds confidence. Set small goals — to speak more in meetings, to initiate conversations. Whatever you focus on, you’re guaranteed to get better at it.

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