by Mary Cantando, Founder of The Woman’s Advantage, Guest Contributor

Are you known as a “connector” in your business community? Whether you are trying to gain support among your staff, persuade a prospect or customer to make a purchase, or deliver an A+ presentation, the starting point is always connecting with the individual you are trying to persuade.  Here are five key ways to do that.

Five Ways to Build a Reputation as a Connector

1. Project a positive aura.

A smile and an upbeat comment can make all the difference in those first few seconds. When someone asks how you’re doing, do you simply say, “fine” or do you say, “Excellent!” It really does make a difference.

2. Be the first to reach out.

Rather than waiting for others to take the initiative, YOU be the first to reach out. When you walk into a room of strangers, pretend you’re the host.

3. Communicate with care.

Keep other’s feelings in mind when you’re making a comment that they might take personally.

4. Hear people out. 

Remember, the key conversational skill is not talking…but asking questions and listening to the answers.

5. Eliminate your need to be right.

It’s not a contest. You don’t win points for always being right.