On the Search for Open 3’s-Networking According to Christopher Barrat

The Four Tenets of Networking

According to Management Development Skills Author Christopher Barrat, all of networking breaks down into these four simple concepts: “Know”, “Like”, “Trust” and “Buy”.

“…and you have to do them in that order. You can’t jump it, you can’t suddenly go to the buy bit, you can’t get people to buy you without the first bits. ‘I need to know you, I need to like you, I need to trust you before that can happen.'”

Christopher believes that the first two steps of that process are usually what you cover at your first networking even with someone: Know is a process that only happens by meeting people face-to-face. Like comes from listening, and incorporating the WAIT principle, which stands for “why am I talking?” Mr. Barrat encourages you to draw people out and as people naturally enjoy talking about themselves, by transference, they Like you for allowing them to do so. While they get to know and like you, they may grow to Trust you, especially upon providing them with needed contacts and finding ways to serve their needs based on what you learned from drawing them out. And at some point, usually not immediately, you will be rewarded for your patience and giving attitude-the network provides for you with a Buy event, where somebody pays back into you.

Social Configurations

When entering a large party of people, either for business, pleasure or some amalgam of both, Mr. Barrat suggests searching for what he calls “open threes”, or a configuration of three people, standing staggered in such a way that although they are speaking to one another, they are somewhat facing out, rather than all three directly facing each other and forming a triangle (and thereby closing the group). Think of them as an open square or an incomplete diamond.

“If they’re closed groups, ignore them. Go for an open three with at least one woman.”

“…and there’s a really important reason for that […] women tend to be more socialized in bringing people in groups. That’s been proven in sociological in research.”

He recommends then, joining the group of “open” three by asking politely if you can join them, thereby closing that group of open three, and creating a closed group of four.

The Tennis Match

Tonight I was able to integrate “Know”, “Like” and WAIT from this talk into a conversation with my driver as I took a Lyft to a concert-she was a natural introvert, and I was able to curtail talking about myself and made every effort to draw her out. At some point, when the conversation stalled, I was able to keep her talking by doing a reverse and relaying a relevant story about my life; I discovered sometimes it’s okay to share when your intent is also to focus on learning about the other person. It’s part of drawing people out because naturally, conversation is always a bit of a tennis match.

After the concert I Lyft-ed to was over, the networking (also known as socializing in non-business parlance) started and I went up to greet the band leader who was a friend of mine. She was actually in a “closed five” (a band-leader speaking with her band-mates) so I awkwardly stood there for a bit, caught myself approaching a closed group, and turned around to seek out my buddy until she was available. She was gracious, because when she opened the group, and saw me facing out, she invited me in to introduce me to everybody. I learned I need to scan the room a bit more closely, as I get single-minded and excited when I am seeking to speak to friends.

As usual, I’ll try to incorporate my life experiences using these lessons into the blog, because I’m definitely excited to try them all out. You can find Christopher Barrat’s TED Talk here, entitled “Successful Networking – The Ultimate Guide”:


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