A Fresh Perspective on Networking

How would you feel if someone you barely knew invited you to lunch?  Would your first thought be, “Oh, my Gosh…what are we going to talk about?  We probably have nothing in common.”  You would probably imagine those long, uncomfortable moments of silence as you frantically search for common ground.  What I find to be true in just about every instance, however, is that shared interests come to when you take the time to get to know someone on a more personal level..

While you are networking and talking to someone, are you mostly concentrating on how that person can help you?  If you feel they can’t, do you quickly move on to the next person?  Have you ever received a friendly follow-up email or phone call from someone you met at a networking event and didn’t respond because you assumed they could not help you with your business?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions for grademiners, then it’s possible you’ve been http://www.toodarkpark.org/computers/humor/shoot-self-in-foot.html shooting yourself in the foot!  Successful networking doesn’t work like that, nor does business-building.  If you have been meeting people only to find out what they can do for you, and you are only in it for yourself, then you are stifling your networking flow before it even begins.  You are actually blocking the possibilities of new business and abundance coming to you, and therefore limiting the infinite potential real networking can bring.  You have no idea if the person you just met has an email list of hundreds or thousands of people, or could be an introduction away from bringing you new business.

One cannot expect to go to a networking event and suddenly obtain 10 new clients.  In some rare instances that might take place, and that would be a good thing.  However, it usually only happens to someone who is already in the flow of the networking crowd and has treated everyone with genuine sincerity and respect – whether someone can help them at that time or not.  Networking is about building relationships…that last…because you never know what you are going to need from someone down the road – or when that person or someone they know might need your services.

The next time you meet someone, ask yourself whether you are sincerity or superficiality. You may be categorizing someone because of your perception of their vocation, political views or religious affiliations.  You may be automatically prejudging someone of a different culture or race, or because their skin is a different color.  Perhaps you feel uncomfortable around someone whom you deem to be too thin or too fat…or because they might be a lot younger or prettier…or not as physically attractive as you.  Don’t dismiss someone as a networking contact simply because you perceive them to be different from you – for whatever reason.

Opportunities are everywhere…but many people limit themselves to those only in their immediate field…or who hold their same beliefs.  The next time you meet someone, instead of looking for all the things you do not have in common, look for the good in people.  Make it a daily habit to find one good thing about every person you meet, such as “That is a beautiful blouse” or “He has a really nice smile”, or “She has gorgeous highlights”, or “I really like his tie”, or “What a creative business card!”or “I like the way she shook my hand.”

Focusing on the good in others and what you have in common is the key to networking.  You will find that not only will you be more successful, but you will build relationships that aren’t just fleeting.  Lasting relations, my friends, is what networking is all about.

Before you choose not to return an email, phone call or meet someone because you deem it a waste of your time, take the challenge and meet someone new.  If you can’t meet everyone you network with, at least respond with a kind reply.  It only takes a few seconds to acknowledge and reply to someone’s email.  Otherwise, get out of your comfort zone.  It will improve the way you view networking, and will certainly help your business.  On a grander scale, it will help to make the world a better place.

I leave you with a quote from one of my favorite beings of all time – Albert Einstein.  Aside from his genius, Einstein was a true humanitarian who realized that we are all connected, and when we help others, we are helping ourselves.

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