Networking Is Nothing New

Networking is simply human interaction and it has been with us since the beginning of time. These human interactions are really just the relationships we have with one another. How we connect. Some connections are passing. Some connections are more lasting. Some connections are seemingly lifelong.

Given this, networking is, more or less, really just human behavior. Talking. Listening. Understanding. Being empathetic, encouraging, inspiring, smiling, laughing, and being a friend. Thus, all human behaviors involving other people are relationship-based and is networking.

The wonderful thing about human behavior is that there are patterns to it. While the patterns may not be perfectly predictable – as you might find with a chemical reaction or a physics experiment – there are patterns generally there.

Whenever there are patterns, however, there is curiosity. And whenever there is curiosity, you will find people of science trying to explain the patterns through studying, observing, and examining them.

Human behavior involving our relationships is no different. The social sciences – sociology, psychology, and economics, just to name a few – for years have examined how humans relate to one another, both personally and professionally.

30-Second Commercial 7 of 8

An effective 30-second commercial is good but having more than one is better. You have a lot to offer and it won’t all fit in one commercial.

No two people are the same and no two situations are the same. Thus, it only stands to reason that you have different messages to fit different situations and people.

Plus, if you consistently say the same thing, it eventually becomes “white noise.” Don’t fall into the “one size fits all” trap. Consider the following:

  1. Develop a variety of Message Bodies – some informative or educational, others flippant or amusing, still others something with a little shock value (where you really want to grab some attention quickly).
  2. Vary the reason WHY people should refer you. What information about you or your company will instill confidence and boost your credibility? What makes you uniquely qualified or sets you apart?
  3. Vary the request. In some settings you can outright ask for people to refer you clients. In others, ask for a connection to a strategic partner (an accountant or attorney, perhaps). Or maybe you need to ask for information (such as details on networking events, job transition groups or background on people).

To summarize, make your 30-second commercials effective by having different Message Bodies, relying on different things to establish Confidence, and altering the Request.

The order in which you present this information can vary. The above framework is a suggested guide. It is not an ironclad rule of thumb. Lead with something to inspire confidence or, perhaps, your strong definite request, or even an amusing message body.

It does not matter how you slice or dice the framework. The key is conveying the message with all the bits and pieces in about 30 seconds.

262) Network Building From 1,000 Acts

In China for the better part of a 1,000 years, the government practiced a form of torture known as “Death From A Thousand Cuts.” Under this form of execution, the convicted person was not killed mercifully. Rather the villain was executed by a series of daily small incisions. These collectively over time spelled doom for the condemned.

Establishing a strong network is truly the reverse of this. You successfully build a network by consistently performing literally thousands of small and seemingly insignificant acts.

You flash a big, happy smile thousands of times. You perform thousands of kind acts. You exhibit reliability with unfailing consistency thousands of times. No one smile, or single kind act, or individual demonstration of dependability has any significance in and of itself. Collectively, however, they have an immense power to build your network.

Knowing that it takes thousands of insignificant acts to build a great network, continually ask yourself, “What seemingly, meaningless network building act am I doing right now?”

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30-Second Commercial: Part 2 of 8

To build a strong network of contacts that give you referrals, contacts and information, you need to have a concise, yet very compelling, 30-second commercial. The problem is that you have SO MUCH to say and 30 seconds is really not a lot of time.

So to conquer the challenge of conveying lots of information in a short period of time, it is helpful to have a framework to work with. Here is an effective one:

  • Start with a basic introduction for yourself (this addresses WHO you are) …
  • Add to that a Message (which addresses WHAT you do) …
  • From there, you need to Inspire Confidence or create credibility (which tackles WHY you over all the other choices) …
  • Then you wrap this up with a Strong Definite Request of what you need (this is HOW they can help you).

Now, if you carefully draft each of these sub-parts and then piece them together with your own personal flair, you end up with a very effective 30-second commercial. For more, see Part 3.

255) You, The CEO

On the August 26th, 2019 episode of the How To Be Mesmerizing Podcast, host Tim Shurr got his guest Duane Cummins, a corporate chief executive and author, to share his thoughts on the true meaning of being a CEO.

Cummins quickly remarked that CEO really stands for Constantly Elevating Others. In short, he explained that the role of any leader is to raise up those under his or her care. And being a leader is about serving others and not about being served.

In this sense, whoever you are, you are a CEO. It might not be of a far-flung corporate enterprise. It might only be of a single person, but you are charged with ensuring that someone is elevated. Someone is developed. Someone is nurtured. Someone is better today than they were yesterday.

It doesn’t matter what your LinkedIn profile or business card says. You’re a CEO. Lean into that role and elevate others.

Like what you’ve read? Prefer to hear it as a podcast or daily flash briefing? Subscribe to the Networking Rx Minute podcast here or wherever you get your podcasts.

227) Light Someone’s Candle

Bob Graham, corporate trainer, speaker and author of the book Breakthrough Communication Skills, points out that a single person with a lit candle can, in mere seconds, be the catalyst for lighting an entire room of candles by simply sharing the light.

Graham’s point is simple: Metaphorically, we all hold a lit candle. Within each of us is a burning inspiration and flames of motivation.

And yet at the same time, we’re all surrounded by a litany of others whose candles are unlit. Their spirits are indifferent, dejected, or bordering on being completely demoralized.

With very little effort, we can use our passion to ignite the spirits of these listless souls. From there, the light will spread to others. And the best part is that sharing this does nothing to diminish the light within us.

So, take a moment today and light someone’s candle. Then watch as that flame fans out to others.

Like what you’ve read? Prefer to hear it as a podcast or daily flash briefing? Subscribe to the Networking Rx Minute podcast here or wherever you get your podcasts.

226) Inroads To Thought Leadership

Do you like to stand before a group and share insight and knowledge on your industry or profession? Would you be comfortable writing a similar article or piece for a newsletter?

If the answer is “YES,” from time to time remind your network that a good opportunity for you is an introduction to a group or organization that might be interested in a professional program on your expertise.

Chances are, in your area there are groups and organizations that would truly find value in what you have to say. In so doing, you brand yourself as a subject-matter expert as well as grow your network amongst lots of potential clients (and people who know potential clients).

While this sort of activity may not generate immediate business, it will absolutely build a foundation upon which lots of future business can result.

Like what you’ve read? Prefer to hear it as a podcast or daily flash briefing? Subscribe to the Networking Rx Minute podcast here or wherever you get your podcasts.

225) Bridge The Gap

Stop and think! There is likely someone you’d love to be introduced to. Maybe it’s someone in your area. Maybe it’s someone in another region of the country. Maybe it’s someone on LinkedIn. Whatever the case, it’s someone you’d like to meet.

But you don’t know them. And while you’re not shy, it can seem a little … well … awkward reaching out to a complete stranger and suggesting “Hey, let’s get acquainted.”  

If this describes you, here is a simple, but effective strategy for becoming connected and avoiding all the potential awkwardness: Consider having another person act as a go–between for you.

Simply find someone in your network who is already connected to the person you’d like to meet and ask them to introduce you. They can do it easily via LinkedIn. They can connect you two via e-mail. Or if it makes sense, they could set up a face to face meeting.

Whatever the case, utilize a mutual connection to bridge the gap.

Like what you’ve read? Prefer to hear it as a podcast or daily flash briefing? Subscribe to the Networking Rx Minute podcast here or wherever you get your podcasts.

224) Don’t Wing It

Sure, there are people who can come up with an answer seemingly on the fly and get away with it. And perhaps you were great in high school and college at BS-ing your way through that esoteric class where much of the grade depended upon class participation.

But none of that works in the real world. This is the reality: the people around you are smart. They might not let on that they know when you’re “going off the cuff” but they know. And while it might not be readily apparent, this seemingly innocent maneuver is read as a deception by others. As such, it serves to undermine the integrity you’re working hard to build.

So, endeavor to be as prepared as possible. When asked about something, share what you can. And when there is something about which you’re unclear, don’t wing it. Respect their intelligence and save your integrity. Simply indicate that you don’t know the answer, but you’d be happy to look into it.

Like what you’ve read? Prefer to hear it as a podcast or daily flash briefing? Subscribe to the Networking Rx Minute podcast here or wherever you get your podcasts.

223) Speak Slowly

In his book, The 100 Simple Secrets of Successful People, Dr. David Niven shared the results of a 1995 study on speech rate. It concluded that individuals “rate speakers who talk more slowly as being 38 percent more knowledgeable than speakers who talk more quickly.”

Assuming this and knowing that it is generally better for you to be considered more knowledgeable, here are some suggestions for controlling the pace at which you speak:

First, from time to time, review in your own mind what you generally have to say.

Second, start any conversation or program by building a little rapport with those you’re talking to.

Third, remind yourself that in most situations, you are the expert. Relax. Share what you know best.

Finally, take a couple deep breaths every so often as you talk. This will naturally relax you.

These simple guidelines will make you more effective at speaking slowly and, as a result, will add more value to what you have to say.

Like what you’ve read? Prefer to hear it as a podcast or daily flash briefing? Subscribe to the Networking Rx Minute podcast here or wherever you get your podcasts.