Create your network, reach out, connect, make alliances, build relationships……… Am I hearing deep sighs from some of you or maybe some are thinking no way, not my thing or its hard enough balancing the relationships I have at present?
Whatever you are thinking I am sure you know that your net worth = your network. Most of your business will come through people you know, have worked with or people you know have recommended you. Therefore, it makes sense to think about how you ‘manage’ your network.
Today I talked with a friend in Hamburg and she commented that I have a diverse network of friends, associates and colleagues that span across the world. Another friend commented that I am good at making friends, staying in contact, building business relationships and maintaining a global network of acquaintances. This is all true and it made me wonder why I do it, how I do it and what is it I do to maintain my network. Why I do it is easy – I enjoy getting to know people, what makes them tick and I love linking them to other people I know whether it be for business or pleasure.
Five years ago I was transiting through Dubai Airport and met a man in a lift and we started chatting. He had flown in from Nairobi where he had worked on a mining site as a geologist and was now heading home to Perth. My brain instantly scanned my network for people in Perth, something made me say the name of a friend who lives there, works as an engineer and often travels to Nairobi. It transpires they know one another and work on the same project. I took his business card so that I could introduce him and my friend. Why bother you might ask? Well the benefit is that I have facilitated another link for my friend within her team, it’s good to build rapport on project teams and this chance encounter creates some common ground to kick off a conversation. During the same period, I was working in Melbourne with a client. I was working with a Home entertainment company and the client was going through a cultural shift in response to the market place changing. This company were focusing on shifting their selling behaviours and the Sales Director was focusing on their trade strategy and commercial planning process.
Click goes my brain – I have a great contact in Australia who at the time worked for CUB plus he has FMCG. Wanting to talk to my contact I dropped him a line asking whether I could introduce him to the Sales Director I was working with. ‘Yes’ said Mr CUB ‘drop us both a line’. 5 years on I know that relationship is still going strong and to quote Mr CUB ‘He is a great guy and we share a coffee regularly and keep each other sane with what’s happening in the world and different categories! ‘
Here are some simple things you can start to do to build your network:
The Celestine prophecy suggests that we notice instances of synchronicity, which is the belief that coincidences have a meaning personal to those who experience them. Become aware who comes into your field, they are there for a reason. Seek to understand why they are there.
Talk to people, its OK they don’t bite. You will know when a stranger is happy to connect with you, the clues are there – smile, open body language, a comment is made over the shared situation you are in.
. If you see or hear someone looking for support in a field that is your strength or the strength of someone you know ask whether they would like an introduction. If yes, check in with your contact and then facilitate the connection.
What’s in it for me you might be wondering?
I love linking people together especially when there is a positive consequence for all parties
I find it easy and when something is easy then I suggest it is a skill/behaviour or habit you can use and develop. You never know what will come your way because of these connections.I now realise that my belief in the law of reciprocity and an abundance mentality support my behaviours and attitude towards my network. I guess if you looked at your values it would lead you to understand how you view your network