Caroline Flack said, “In a world where you can be anything, be kind”. With the news about Caroline and other people taking their own lives, it really got me thinking about the enormous amount of pressure that some people are under.
When you’re running a business, particularly if you’re working alone, it can be a lonely place. There’s so much more to networking than the referrals and new business opportunities we create for one and other. I want you to know that there is always someone there to support you, especially when you’re part of a networking group. Turn to your business associates for creativity, ideas, to be a sounding board, to listen, to care, to support, to understand and be a part of your team.
It’s amazing how many business people have personal and business issues that can impact their business productivity and success. Networking is about being with like minded people who understand the pressures of running a business and they are there to help you.
I always say that networking is like Karma, and what you do for others will come right back to you. Helping other people is key to receiving good networking Karma. I’m not suggesting that you should only give help to receive it, but I truly believe that the more you help other people, the more help will be rewarded to you.
So, here’s four ways that you can help other people when networking.
Listen & Understand
One of the first rules of networking is to be present, give your full attention, listen, learn and understand someone else’s business. Only then can you help them. We have two ears and one mouth for a reason and the best communicators recognise this. Have you ever had an amazing conversation with someone and thought they’re a brilliant conversationalist, only to realise that you did all the talking and they just listened? If you have then you’ll get my point. If not, and you’re already a great listener then hats off to you, because that’s outstanding. As someone is telling you about their business, reiterate what they’ve said. Not only will this show the other person that you’ve understood, it will reinforce what you’ve learned about their business and help you to create ideas on how you can help them.
I’ve lost count of the amount of times that I’ve seen someone completely disregard another person based on the type of business they have or the industry they work in. Was it because they were being judgmental? Was it because by nature of what they do? Was it that they just won’t be a good contact for them? Were they in a rush? Were they just rude? It could be any of these reasons or all of the above. Either way, they’re missing a trick. I’ll never forget the time, at an open networking event, when a gentleman actually told another person that, “He would be wasting his time talking to him, because he was looking for introductions to large oil companies, like BP”. He added that the self employed bookkeeper wouldn’t be able to help him. As he walked off, with an aura of arrogance, I began talking to the self employed bookkeeper. Turns out, his brother was one of the key people at BP! Big mistake! Huge! When you’re networking is vital that you keep an open mind. Trust me, it will be the person that you least expect who will give you the best referral or introduction that you’ve ever had! Stay humble, don’t judge, we’re all human beings and we’re all worthy business people.
Be A Connector
When you hear people refer to others as outstanding networkers, it’s usually because there the people who will always go that extra mile to help connect people. The more you introduce people to others who can help them, the more satisfaction you’ll gain personally and the more you’ll boost your reputation. As you think about how many people you know, how many people you have on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn, think about how easy it will be to introduce those contacts to other people. Whether you’re introducing people who have a natural synergy or creating new business opportunities for someone, the more people you connect, the better it will be for you for them and you. After all, that’s how you could become an outstanding networker.
Do What You Say You Will Do
It’s so easy to leave a networking event or a meeting with good intentions to help someone, only to find that when you get back to your place of work you get distracted by other things. One of the quickest ways to destroy your reputation is to promise something and fail to deliver. Don’t do it! If you say you’re going to do something, do it, and do it as soon as possible. Don’t leave the other person hanging. They will go from feeling upbeat, optimistic, excited and motivated to feeling let down, disheartened, jaded and stuck. If you’ve ever been let down by someone else then you’ll know exactly what I mean. I set myself what I refer to as my ‘Power Hour’ every day. This is when I check through my conversation and meetings notes then take action, so that I’m delivering on my promises. When networking, always follow-through and do what you say you will do! Your reputation depends upon it and it will make you feel fab!
It really is about being kind to yourself and others!
Be a connector, help others, have fun and you will gain so much more than you ever thought possible!