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.


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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.


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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.


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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.


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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.


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222) The Value Of Curiosity

Kay Coughlin, CEO at Facilitator on Fire, shares that there is value to curiosity.

Certain things thrive in a curious world. Things like science, fruitful debate, growth, tolerance, delight in the unknown, and forgiveness.

She also shares that unfortunately other things thrive in a polarized, only-one-right-answer world. Things like insecurity, small mindset, fear of the unknown, extreme politics, hate, bigotry, blame, and shame.

With that, Kay encourages that instead of, “I’m right, you’re wrong,” ask “How could this be different or improved?

And rather than, “This isn’t what I asked for,” try, “I didn’t expect this, please tell me more.

Her message is crystal clear: Insecure people can’t tolerate curiosity. So, strive to be secure enough to be curious. This will help you be a better leader. It will help you build a stronger team. It will ensure that your network thrives.


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.


221) FROG Questioning

In his book, The Seven Levels of Communication: Go from Relationships to Referrals, author Michael Maher encourages through the edification of his protagonists that to build your network most effectively, you should build a FROG into your conversations.

Yes, FROG. F, R, O, G. It’s an acronym to remind you to focus on the other person and help guide your questioning to encompass four things:

One, F, Family: Inquire about their family situation. Married. Single. Children. Where they’re from.

Two, R, Recreation: Ask questions that serve to get people talking about their interests and passions. Hobbies. Favorite sports and teams. Volunteer endeavors.

Three, O, Occupation: Be sure to get the person talking about their professional life. Not just what they do, but also how they got started in that.

And, finally, G, for Goals: Inquire as to their goals, hopes, dreams and aspirations.

As Maher implies, the first step to being well known is knowing others first.


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220) If You Pledge To, Do So

As you interact with others, it’s only a matter of time before you make a gratuitous commitment to someone. It’s only a matter of time before you agree to fulfill a request someone has made. It might be to share information. It might be to make an introduction. It might be to arrange a meeting at a later day and time.

Whatever the situation, however you’ve promised to follow through, do so.

Remember, successful networking is about building relationships where others come to know, like and trust you. As such, a key component to the element of trust is being reliable. And inherent in reliability is doing what you say you will.

By not doing so – whether you fail to deliver or simply never were able to – the end result is the same. You impair networking potential by hurting your relationships. So, if you pledge to do something, make sure you do it.


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219) The Attractiveness Of Courage

Life is not an endless succession of forward progress. While you may enjoy success, at some point or another you will also encounter frustrating challenges and disappointing setbacks. It is during these moments of hardship that you have the greatest opportunity to establish your personal brand and build your network.

You see, when you stare down frustrating challenges and disappointing setbacks with an attitude of determination, you establish yourself as courageous. This draws others toward you.

There is little question that people love an underdog. And, they can’t help but rally around one who is battling to overcome some sort of setback or hardship. So, by demonstrating an attitude of courageous determination, others want to draw from this strength, and they hope to take inspiration from it. In any event, they cannot help but want to get to know you better and cannot help but want to get to like you more.


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216) Adhere To The Golden Rule

Do you want more from your network? Of course, you do. You’re not alone. Everyone does.

Everyone wants more referrals. Everyone wants to be connected to more opportunities. Everyone seeks inroads to great, game-changing information. And everyone wants all the other benefits that a network can provide. So, like everyone else, you want more from your network.

What most people fails to realize, however, is that if you want to get more from your network you need to focus on giving more to it. Though this might seem completely counterintuitive, it’s true.

This is often referred to as the Golden Rule of Networking and is simply stated as “Give First; Get Second.” This law is universal and is rooted in human nature, spanning time and remaining consistent from one culture to another.

So, if you want more from your network, begin today infusing it with referrals, opportunities, contacts, energy and whatever else could help others. In time, this will come back to you in plenty.


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.