To build a great following of wonderful people, you need to devote time and energy to helping others. Giving referrals. Making introductions. Sharing information. Generally, adding value.
Sure, it might seem like that Herculean effort is the most noteworthy. The bigger the help, the bigger the splash in someone else’s life, right? However, as word of mouth referral expert Matt Wards reminds us: “Sometimes it’s doing something small for someone that really makes a big impact.”
What Ward implies is that you’re not always in a position to share referrals that make someone’s quarter or information that alters the landscape of someone’s business. You are, however, always able to do something. Write a note. Call to just check in. Offer encouragement.
While these small things can seem inconsequential, you never know what impact they can bring. And sometimes the impact can be really big. So commit to doing something small today. And see what it leads to tomorrow.
In the 1960s, Yale researcher Stanley Milgram adopted the phrase “six degrees of separation”. This phrase came about because, on average, there were a half-dozen intermediaries involved in the delivery of packets of information from randomly selected people in Omaha to a stockbroker in Boston.
Interestingly, however, while the packets originated from numerous random points, the final step of their delivery came from only a handful of people. From this, Milgram concluded that a very small number of people are linked to everyone else in just a few steps, and the rest of us are linked to the world through them.
To find these “super connectors” in your life, write down the names of 50 random contacts and trace them back to how you were introduced. A pattern will emerge showing that a large percentage of your contacts likely originated from relatively few individuals.
These people are called network pyramid capstones and they are instrumental in your world. Devote time and energy to building your relationship with them.
In his book The Power of Optimism, corporate psychologist and motivational speaker Tim Shurr reminds readers that “even on the darkest, cloudiest, rainiest day, the sun is still shining – you just can’t see it.” He continues that in reality, you’re just not looking for it.
So, when times are tough, and problems appear overwhelming (and everyone has these days) know that solutions are right there. Right there within reach. But you have to take a deep breath, step back and relax, and start to look for them.
And as you look trust that it’s not a question of “if” you will find the solution. Rather, it’s a matter of where you’ll find the solution and what it will be.
So next time you find yourself embroiled in a day that feels dark, cloudy, and rainy, remember that somewhere around you is the answer that will serve as some sunshine. You just need to look for it.
In business, you’re not a one-trick pony. That is, there is lots to you as a business professional and you serve clients in many, many ways. As such, don’t limit yourself to a single 30–second commercial that becomes tired and seemingly trite in time.
Rather, start by taking the time to develop a variety of small business introductions for yourself. Work one up for each aspect on your aspect of your business.
Then with that foundation, work up some variations on those. Make some that involve short anecdotes. Make some that are cute and entertaining. Have others that play well in a more professional setting.
Don’t limit yourself. Be so prepared with material, that you appear to come up with great introduction on the fly. Ones that are not just engaging, but more importantly productive.
Late in the championship game, down by four, within mere yards of the endzone and only time left for this one last play, the veteran quarterback drops back to pass.
It’s been amazing. The QB’s season-long heroics got his team into the playoffs. And then he somehow willed them to the championship. Finally, he almost single handedly mounted a 20-point comeback and got them downfield in position to win.
In the end zone, is a wide-open receiver. Unfortunately, however, the star quarterback put too on the pass. It sails incomplete. The game is lost. The season is over.
One fan screams, “Oh my God … I can’t believe he missed. Anyone could have made that.”
To which another fan calmly remarks, “Yes, anyone could have made that pass. But there is only one man in the world who could have gotten this team in this position to have this opportunity.”
The point: Before you criticize the failures of others, consider the merits of their whole journey.
In his book Who Do You Need To Meet?, author Rob Thomas share a secret to his networking success.
“My intention while meeting with someone for the first time is to think about others who have something in common or might be interested in the person across the table from me. I like to orchestrate relationships between quality people who may be able to benefit from each other’s offerings, expertise or connections.”
Thomas goes on to share that he truly enjoys connecting people who might never have otherwise met. Further, he gets a sense of real fulfillment when sometimes these connections cultivate lasting business relationships and can even become friends.
So, you meet new people every day. And you already know a bunch. To what extent are you orchestrating relationships? Could you be doing a better at initiating new business relationships? What friendship might you be able to inspire? What might this do for your networking success?
Networking is about serving others. The more you serve others, the more you put into the world. And the more you put into the world, the more things that will come back to you. To this end, here is a thought.
No matter how bad off you might have it, the reality is that someone likely has it worse. Therefore, there should never be a shortage of people you can serve.
With that, a simple key to infusing a spirit of service in your life is to look around for someone to serve. They are there. People needing encouragement. People needing a little direction. People needing things you can help them with.
When you find one, understand their struggles. Then from here, you can certainly find a means of easing their heartache or lifting them up – even if only temporarily. And just like that you are serving the world around you.
Whenever you have an opportunity to hand out your business card, follow a practice of Far Eastern countries: Use both hands in delivering it. This gives the subtle but important impression that your business card is something very valuable.
Along those same lines, when someone gives you their business card, don’t put it away right away. Rather, keep it in your hands for a while and study it carefully. As you do, talk to them about it or use it to segue into a conversation, such as, “How did you come up with that business name?”
If you take an interest in their card, they are more likely to take an interest in yours. And, if they take more interest in your card, they will probably remember you that much more. And, isn’t that the point of your business card in the first place?
Super connector, speaker and social capital consultant, Terry Bean shares in his book Be Connected:
“Be aware of your surroundings and the plethora of things going on around you at any point in time. Be aware of the opportunities and signs that present themselves to you all day long. Be aware of your surroundings and all the sights, sounds and smells. Be aware of the impact that your actions can and do have on those around you. And be aware of the impact that the actions of others have on you. Be aware of what’s being said in conversations by listening intently and not focusing on formulating a response.”
Bean refers to this as your Awareness Quotient and he defines it as being in tune with the flow of your life. So, stop and become a little more aware today. As he says, “Love the moments you live, and you will live the moments you love.”