It is not often you are presented with an opportunity to make someone else’s dream come true.
Years ago I helped a single mother, who was struggling to get by, achieve her dream of sending her son to a private Milwaukee high school. It was a risky commitment because at the time, resources were scarce. I would have to get creative to make up the amount that covered the tuition – but nothing felt better than helping my friend. Within nine hours of signing the check, I received a call that I had won a raffle prize for exactly the same amount. If it didn’t happen to me, I am not sure I would have believed it.
The example of helping someone achieve anything they strive for in life reminds me that networking is all about giving. When you truly give to others without any expectations or strings attached, you will receive much more than you ever could have expected. I’ve long believed that miracles will happen when you give of yourself and allow life to work its natural course without manipulating the outcome.
I believe networking gives you confidence to interact with others, teaches resiliency, and helps you overcome challenges in life. The concept of engaging others with an attitude of giving, not getting, will enrich your relationships and your life.
To help you become a more fulfilled networker, I’d like to introduce you to a very simple four-step process that may transform your life. While this process may sound simple, your level of commitment will truly determine how trying the process is for you. It’s a lot like losing weight…all you have to do is eat less and exercise more. Piece of cake, right? Not always.
You have to learn how to ask good questions. Since relationships deepen through face-to-face contact, the ability to make interesting and thought-provoking inquiries can turn you into an excellent conversationalist and strong networker. When you are asking for something, you’ve got to find a way to do so with the mindset of giving. You have to ask persistently. You have to ask creatively. You have to ask outside the box. And at the end of all this, you have to make asking outright enjoyable.
Many people think great networkers are great talkers. In fact, most often they’re not. They’re really great listeners. When you engage in a conversation with someone, listen actively. Listen intuitively. Listen to that quiet voice within you. Listen closely to what is really being said. Remember, God gave you two ears and one mouth – use them in proportion.
Be the person who always follows up. Many of us ask and listen, but we don’t act. It all boils down to fear, so you need to ask yourself, “What’s the worst possible thing that could happen?” Feel the fear, and do it anyway. Those who offer to take action and follow through are worth more than gold – and are never forgotten.
4. Believe and Receive
Have faith in yourself and in what you’re doing. Have faith that when you truly give to others, you’ll receive more than you’ll ever give. When you’re open to answers that you didn’t know existed, great things will happen.
What makes this four-step process such a challenge is that the whole idea of networking as a place you go to give, and not get, is counter-intuitive. Most of us by nature are pretty self-centered, and what I’m asking you to do in this process is get outside yourself and put the focus on others.
Remember, by applying these four steps to your everyday life, they will not only transform you into a better networker, but they will also help you become more connected, grow your business, and give your life greater meaning.
Looking for more networking tips? Here are my 15 Rules To Break:
- Don’t talk to strangers.
- Mind your own business.
- Wait your turn (No.. Act nimble/quick.)
- Play fair. (Ethics vs. Meekness)
- Don’t speak unless spoken to. (Reach out – waiter, parking lot, etc…)
- Don’t toot your own horn. (Special Talents = Tell Others)
- Don’t bother people. (Interact = Add Value)
- Play by the rules. (What Rules? Whose Rules?)
- Don’t stand out.
- Stick with one thing. (Adult ADD)
- Avoid rejection.
- Don’t be pushy.
- Don’t ask for favors.
- Important people don’t have time for you.
- Follow the proper channels. (Process/Protocol = B.S.)