IN A time of global connectivity and diversity, the old way of networking is outmoded.

Books about networking that were published in the 1980s tended to be written based on a "what's in it for me" attitude, a sales focus and a hierarchical approach to exchanging business cards, and the emphasis on closing the deal.

Now that women form a major segment of the workforce, the relational style of networking is fast becoming the norm.

Bonding with others

The relational style of networking focuses on fostering a connection by establishing what two parties have in common before conducting any business.

Women prefer to make this kind of connection, asking personal questions to establish a basis for the relationship, trust and commonality before moving into a business discussion.

The difference between a transactional/contractual-driven and relational/connection-centred networking is how the other party feels when you are done talking with them. Beyond the nature of your interaction, this has to do with your personal charisma.

A lesson in charisma

Having a great product or being capable is not enough. Today you need to have an extra edge - charisma.

Many people feel that charisma is a gift. You are either born with it or you are not. While it is true that some people are born with the trait, it can also be learned.

Charismatic souls are deeply generous with their time, attention, compliments, support and acknowledgement of others. They leave others feeling positive, happy and good about themselves. These magnetic personalities do not turn their charm on and off like a light switch. They are consistently charismatic with everyone at all times. Hence, others tend to gravitate towards them and want to do business with them.

When socialising, charismatic people devote time to persons they talk to. They make others feel good about themselves and are quick to identify and compliment the good they see in others.

They have time to mentor, coach, provide valuable advice and be of service to others. In every exchange, they seek to leave people feeling good about themselves.

Charismatic people do not overwhelm others. Instead, they support them. Being good listeners, they shut off the rest of the world and focus on the conversation wholeheartedly. They hear what others are saying and respond appropriately, such that others feel valued and empowered in their presence.

Their allure lies in their giving nature too. They are able to reflect the qualities of others back to them by asking meaningful questions and guiding them to articulate what they are good at or enjoying doing.

This helps to draw out a person whose passion lies outside of what he does for a living. Charismatic people are aware of this and engage individuals by getting them to talk about their latent interests or unfulfilled dreams.

Finally, charismatic people understand that having the power means giving it away. When they empower others, they feel powerful about themselves too.

The 'C' factor

Charisma counts in the global world of relationships today. People can build their charm by learning to listen and serve others better, and not just by promoting themselves or their products and services. The secret is in earning the right to the relationship first.

Start by getting the respect and developing connections with persons you meet. The opportunities that follow depend on how you treat them from the first contact.