With just 11 days left in this year I would like to invite you to take a look at how you are showing up on the stage of networking overall and how you can improve for the year ahead.
First, let’s start with an agreed upon definition of networking. I prefer to use Bob Burg’s definition which is that networking is the building of mutually beneficial relationships over time.
The strongest networkers focus on building their giving muscles. They build relationships by looking for ways to be of service to the people that they meet. They look for ways to act as connectors for the people that they have grown to know, like, and trust. And they do these things without a tally book. It is just who they are BEING in the world.
So who have you been BEING in the world of people who matter to you?
Have you been generous in your curiosity? Have you spent time learning more about the people that matter to you so that you can be of service to them through the connections that you can make for them?
Have you been generous in your kindness? Have you spent a moment or two with someone to share a resource or to point them in the right direction given your understanding of the path that they are currently on? Have you included someone in a conversation who may have otherwise been left out?
Have you drawn a bigger circle around you to include more people?
If you find yourself reflecting here and thinking, “I don’t have time to help others – I am the one who needs help – why aren’t people doing these things for me?” I have one response for you and one response only, my friend. It’s your attitude.
People can spot takers a mile away. And, if you have been showing up with the attitude that screams, “I need …,” or “I deserve …,” or “I want you to do this for me …,” well, I can’t say this any other way than you are turning people off. If you are turning just one person off, I want you to know that you are turning many more off via word of mouth.
And you might think, “hey, if these networking people want to focus on giving to others, I’m just being part of the stream to receive their giving – I’m not taking, I’m receiving.” Think again. Givers enjoy giving, and it is usually to people who also enjoy giving. As Dr. Ivan Meisner says, “Givers gain!”
So consider these thoughts during the close to the year and this lovely holiday season. Who is important to me that I can add value to our relationship by sharing contacts, referrals, or resources with? Be like Santa and make your list of folks you would like to be in contribution to as this year ends and a new one is about to begin.
And then get into action. Call, mail, or email your top 10 important people – whether they are personal or business makes no difference. Let them know that they matter to you. In the New Year, make it a point to continue to grow mutually beneficial relationships and you will be moving yourself toward the success that you desire.
Remember, as Zig Ziglar said: “You can have everything in life that you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want.”