Peter Drucker, famed author, educator, and management consultant, whose writings contributed to practical foundations of the modern business corporation, once remarked, “A business either grows, or it shrinks. It doesn’t stand still.”
Drucker’s mantra is insightful. Given the options, the choice is obvious. If you’re in business, you need to commit to ongoing growth. After all, why would you submit to having your endeavors dwindle away.
While Drucker’s quote clearly applies to business, it applies to networking as well. Think about it. A relationship either grows and improves, or it’s prone to atrophy. There is no middle ground where things just stand still.
So, with everyone you know, that’s the choice. Build and reinforce your connection. Or sit by and let it slip away. Given that option, what do you want to do? With the people who are important to you, commit to the relationship. Invest time. Put forth energy. Continue to build on it.
competition, including you. What makes you unique amongst your competition?
Again, WHY you? Your 30-second commercial
needs to convey credibility and confidence that serves to answer that question
before it is asked. Consider an example.
“Not only have I helped more than 100 people get into the right franchise, I also spent 10 years as a CPA … helping my clients know what they were getting.”
Who would a prospective franchisee prefer
to work with? Just anyone or someone with this background? The answer should be
obvious (at least the question was intended to be rhetorical). The point is
that Inspiring Confidence (answering the “WHY you?”) is vital to your 30-second
It’s a natural
human tendency, isn’t it? You know, to look over your shoulder to see what the
other person has got. Thoughts flow through your mind like …
I wonder if I’m in better shape;
I wonder if their house is worth more; or,
I wonder if they make more than I do.
ponderings seem to be natural, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t work to push these
thoughts aside. You know, focus on you. On what you have. On what more you’re
looking to achieve.
This is the
reality: It does nothing for you to compare yourself to anyone else. After all,
no two situations are alike. You have a unique path to this point in time and
as such comparing outcomes is pointless.
yourself to anyone else. Just focus on being your best and doing your best. Not
necessarily “the” best, just your best. Great things will follow from that
While air travel is faster, more
efficient and safer than ever before, we still need to contend with gravity – the
Earth’s unrelenting pull on all physical objects.
Therefore, to keep air travel safe,
those in air transportation vigilantly maintain aircraft. While they might never
change the engine in their car, you can be sure they replace aircraft engines
on a routine basis … whether it needs it or not. After all, being stranded on
US-41 is no big deal but being stalled at 10,000 feet is.
So, as you cultivate the relationships
within your growing network, care for them as you would maintain an airplane.
Don’t wait for a relationship to be broken before you tend to it.
Never chance that something might go
wrong. Rather, routinely reach out to the important people in your life, whether
personal or professional. See how they’re doing. And in so doing, you’ll show
that you care. That will serve to keep your entire fleet of relationships
been at this game of business long enough you will no doubt experience failures
and setbacks. Some will be relatively small, such as not upselling a client at the
11th hour on the last day of an already record month. Others will be large,
such as not getting the promotion or losing that big client. And a good many
will be somewhere in between.
the case, these moments will leave you feeling a degree of disappointment. And
that’s okay, as that’s part of being driven and goal oriented. What’s not okay,
however, is blaming others or circumstances as you ruminate on your shortcoming.
the “would have’s”, “should have’s” and “could
have’s” might be, in the final analysis on some level it’s your failure. Own
it. Commit to doing better. Then move forward with your pride and the respect
Centuries ago, a kingdom had a prince with a hunchback.
Though it was his destiny to be king, he was so tragically deformed that even
the most loyal of subjects dreaded the day he would ascend to the throne.
Undeterred, the Prince ordered the royal sculptor to
carve a statue of him in a manner that looked exactly as he would look if he
had no deformity.
When the sculpture was finished, the Prince would
approach it each day and try to bend his back straight up against the back of
his statue. Then one day, bending upward, his shoulders touched the statute. He now resembled the statue he’d ordered
Your life today is riddled with imperfection and
deformities relative to where you want to take it. In your mind, carve a
statute of your perfect future self. Then each day bend a little more towards
it. Like the Prince, one day your imperfections will be cast aside.
“Small Talk” is an art. Like any art, you can improve how you do it through practice. Here are some ideas for becoming more proficient at small talk.
THINK … On the way to the next event or when you have some idle time, work through in your mind how you envision your “small talk” going. Review the questions you will ask in your mind. See yourself listening, summarizing, and sharing.
LISTEN … “Small talk” is all around you, every day. Listen to it, especially those who are good at it. See how they weave from one question to the next and how they transition to business, return to small talk and then exit the conversation.
ENGAGE … Take every opportunity to engage in “small talk” When you are in line at the store check out. With a server in a restaurant. With the receptionist at your next appointment. You will find the more you engage in small talk, the more comfortable you get at it.
The most important thing you need to do to be good at
“small talk” is develop an attitude of belief. Periodically, you need to tell
yourself, “I can carry a conversation. I can. I am good at it. I enjoy it. I
like how it lifts the spirits of others. And I love what it is doing for my networking.
I can carry a conversation.”
of where you are in life right now. Okay, it’s not perfect. No one’s life is.
But if you’re honest, you’ll admit, it’s pretty darn good.
sure, you’ve worked hard, made smart moves and had a bit of luck. But much of
the goodness you enjoy has been created by others. Somewhere in the past, the
efforts and sacrifices of people you may or may not know have rippled forward
to serve you. Creating opportunities. Establishing programs. Clearing a
it’s your turn. It’s your turn to put forth effort and make sacrifice to
Serve your family.
Serve your neighbors.
Serve your community.
your turn to create your own ripples of goodness. Creating opportunities.
Establishing programs. Clearing a figurative path. Know this: The good you do
today never dies. It rolls forward. It lives on. In other people, in other
places and throughout time. Your good deeds live on forever.
his book, Who Do You Want To Meet, author Rob Thomas offers a simple way
to classify your network. The purpose of this is to ensure that you make the
highest and best use of your time in cultivating relationships: Start by rating
your list of contacts on a scale one to four.
Ones are individuals with whom you are newly connected.
Twos are people you know. But these are people who you’ve had no real
contact with for some time. The relationship is there, but it’s dormant until
one of you takes action.
Threes are those connections where there is an active relationship, but
the benefits are generally one sided. Either you’re doing things for them and
them not reciprocating or vice versa. And…
Fours are those relationships that are mutually beneficial.
this classification in hand, you’ll know best how to invest time and energy in
your relationships. Plus, you’ll have a great understanding of how you can work
to improve your network.